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Prem rival on Ford axe: 'Impressive bloke, knows rugby inside out'

By Liam Heagney

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Gloucester boss George Skivington is braced for a backlash from George Ford on Friday night after the England first-choice out-half since 2015 was a headline omission from the training squad picked by Eddie Jones for a mini-camp in London next week. Ford started the new Premiership season on fire, piloting Leicester to an impressive home win over Exeter last Saturday. 

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That effort wasn’t enough for him to earn a reprieve from the England axe which was confirmed on Tuesday and with the 28-year-old now due at Kingsholm on Friday night, Skivington is poised for a reaction from Ford, a player he first encountered when he was still playing himself at Tigers. 

Having spent seven seasons at Wasps, Skivington made the switch to Welford Road in 2010 and he spent two seasons there before moving on to play four more seasons at London Irish and then move into coaching. The youthful version of Ford he encountered at Leicester left its mark. 

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Jack Nowell guests on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload
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Jack Nowell guests on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload

“George is a brilliant ten,” enthused Skivington ahead of Friday night’s round two Premiership clash between cubs who had different fortunes on opening weekend, Gloucester losing at Northampton while Tigers were dusting down the Chiefs. 

“I was a player at Leicester when he was coming through as a young man and it was pretty obvious he was going to be special. His professionalism in what he does in training… I haven’t seen him in a squad since that time but he is an impressive bloke, he knows rugby inside out.

“He is a proper student of the game so when you talk to him about rugby detail, he understands the game and his skill set, he showed it against Exeter, he has got a very vast skill set. If you want him to hammer that kicking game, like he did a lot last year, he will do it but his attacking game is very, very strong. I thought he picked the right options against Exeter. If you rewind when he was playing at Bath how good their attack was, George can play that game or he can play the kicking game for you. 

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“And he is a sound bloke as well, he is a very good, solid bloke so I rate him very, very highly. I am quite surprised he got left out. I can see the reasons around it but I am surprised they left him out if I am honest.”

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Prem rival on Ford axe: 'Impressive bloke, knows rugby inside out'

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