'He is one of, if not the best, coaches around': George Ford on Steve Borthwick
Leicester’s gripping last-gasp victory over Bristol at Ashton Gate made it 10 wins from 10 Premiership starts this season, matching Harlequins’ feat in 2011.
And it represents a spectacular transformation under former England forwards coach Borthwick, who took charge at Leicester less than 18 months ago.
Tigers ended the 2019-20 campaign in 11th place, and they were only saved by Saracens being relegated following their salary cap breaches.
Now, though, Leicester will enter 2022 unbeaten in domestic and European competitions, seemingly poised for a major double trophy push.
“I have obviously been coached by him at England and at Leicester, and he is one of, if not the best, coaches around,” Leicester fly-half Ford said.
“I think we had built good foundations in our game, and I think we have taken our game to a new level in terms of those foundations, but also a little bit of the way we attack – a bit of variety in our game – and we are a bit better disciplined.
“But I think the main thing is we have taken the way we prepare in training to a new level.
“The way Steve gives us a plan, and then the way we go about it and practise it in the week. When you go out on game-day, you feel so ready to go and play and win.
“For a player that’s all you can ever ask for. I have never not had enough clarity, going into a game, and that’s down to Steve and the coaches.
“I know it’s a cliche, but we take each game as it comes. Steve won’t let us do anything other than that!
“We are that engrossed in trying to be better and trying to win this game, and then Newcastle next weekend. We are just enjoying it. Obviously, winning helps that.”
Ford is in his final season at Leicester before joining their Premiership rivals Sale Sharks next summer.
And his outstanding form has proved instrumental to Borthwick’s team seeing off allcomers so far this term.
“I will do everything I possibly can to finish on a high,” Ford added.
“I love the club, the coaches here are brilliant and they support me. I want to do my job as well as I can for the rest of the time I am here.”
Substitute Guy Porter’s 84th-minute try saw Leicester edge out Bristol 28-26 and Ford said: “You can never question the fight, this year especially.
“No matter what is going on in the game – the scoreboard, whether something good has happened or something bad has happened – we focus on that next thing, which is a great way to be as a team.
“One minute we are down in our half with a minute left, and most people think the game is done and dusted, but the ability for us to stay in the game in the moment, get that one opportunity and execute it was brilliant.
“Wins like that, you remember them and you have to bank them.
“Sometimes, that’s the way you win a game – sometimes, you win a bit more comfortably – but when situations like that happen at the end, you have got to bank it because when you are in those situations again, you need to come back to those moments.”
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free