England 28-9 Samoa
Ford targets fly-half spot for Australia
Tom Hamilton at Twickenham
November 23, 2014
© Getty Images

England No.10 George Ford said he was prepared for a physical encounter with Samoa and hopes to keep his spot in the team ahead of their final November Test against Australia.

Ford played a key role in England's 28-9 victory over Samoa on Saturday after starting at fly-half with normal first choice No.10 Owen Farrell shifted to inside centre. Ford was on the wrong end of some late hits and hard tackling from the Samoans and also copped a high shot which saw Johnny Leota sin-binned.

"I didn't feel too bad after that, which surprised me really. I just wanted to get back on my feet as quickly as possible," Ford said. "It was a good hit, but I didn't think it was a yellow card. He read the play pretty well and fair deal, you just get on with it.

Ford helps England re-find focus

© Getty Images
  • When Mike Brown scored in the 52nd minute - it was a wonderfully forged try with the Bath axis of George Ford and Anthony Watson working well in tandem - the game was as good as over. There was an inevitability about it. For all Samoa's attempts to break down the England defence in the first 40, they made yards but not clear incisions. England weathered that, offering little ingenuity of their own, but pulled away in the second 40.
  • As far as Stuart Lancaster is concerned, it is a case of job done but this was not England rebuilding the foundations of a World Cup bid, or re-asserting some fear factor back into Twickenham but more a step in the right direction with Ford pivotal.
  • Read the full verdict here

"Samoa are always going to be a little bit different because they are massive men who love the physicality battle. I wouldn't say it was enjoyable to take those hits but you've got do it."

Ford now faces an anxious wait to see if he retains his starting spot for the visit of Australia. He did his chances no harm against Samoa as he helped teed up Jonny May's try and also Mike Brown's with an excellent cross-kick.

"There were some aspects of the game that I was quite pleased with and some that I can definitely work on," Ford said. "You always want to play and start for England, but it's up to the coaches to come up with a plan and come up with the team they think is best to beat Australia.

"Whether I'm involved in that or not, I'll back it 100 per cent because it is going to be a massive squad effort next week to beat them."

Lancaster said post-match he was pleased with the way Ford and Farrell linked up at 10 and 12 and Mike Catt says they will need time to cement their partnership.

"It's like anything, they have to learn their trade and you'll have a few other players like Twelvetrees and Eastmond putting their hands up," Catt said. "They won't let Faz jump into the 12 shirt. We'll look at it in the cold light of day and see where we go from here."

From Ford's point of view, he was pleased with how they worked in tandem. "There were definitely aspects out there that we had when we were growing up playing together. We were constantly talking, which was the main thing - talking about the game and how we could get better.

"There were a couple of timing issues as a backline off first-phase plays, but there were some good ones - we scored a first-phase try and Jonny May finished it very well. Owen and I have had a few of those moments in our careers together. It was brilliant execution by Owen. He ran really straight."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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