Rugby World Cup
Ford: Get behind England and we'll put on a show against Uruguay
Tom Hamilton
October 8, 2015
England looking to go out on a high

England's George Ford hopes Manchester will embrace the side when they face Uruguay there this weekend, and has vowed to learn from the team's premature Rugby World Cup exit.

This weekend's match at the City of Manchester stadium will be one of conflicted emotions. On one side of the Faustian predicament England will hope to put on a show for Manchester in what is their first game in the north of England since their Test against Argentina at Old Trafford in 2009.

But the devil on the shoulder will say it is a game that means little in the big scheme of things with England already consigned to the ignominy of an early exit from the tournament. 

England's match will take place two hours after the rugby league Grand Final at Old Trafford; Manchester will host a clash of the codes four miles from each other.

George Ford passes the ball during England training
George Ford passes the ball during England training© David Rogers/Getty Images

Although the game now means little Ford hopes England will leave the north with a good impression of the national side.

"I've a lot of respect for rugby league and I think it will be a great Grand Final between Wigan and Leeds but there aren't many opportunities for international rugby union games up north," Ford said.

"For people up there who may struggle to get down to Twickenham for whatever reason I think it's a great opportunity for them to experience what it is like and see it in the north which doesn't happen very often.

"Hopefully they get behind us. We understand the nation's disappointed in what we've achieved and rightly so, but we've done a lot of good things on and off the pitch in the last four years and made a lot of people proud. We'll do our best to put a show on for them."

Uruguay will head into the match looking for their first win in the tournament while England hope to finish their campaign on a high.

Slade out to prove point
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Geoff Parling said earlier in the week it has been a tough match to prepare for after the devastation of their early exit but for Ford, it gives him a chance to nail his colours to the fly-half mast after being dropped for their games against Wales and Australia.

"Any game is a good game for us this week," Ford said. "We just want to get out there. We respect Uruguay -- we've done the normal preparation that we'd usually do. They played really well against Fiji and we're excited to go out there and play.

"Whoever it is we're putting an England shirt with a rose on and playing for our country this week. We're looking forward to getting out there and putting on a really good performance, 1 to 23."

Following the Uruguay game comes the review into England's poor campaign. Stuart Lancaster has no qualms if it is made public but expects it to be concluded within a fortnight of their final match.

Ford was name-checked by Lancaster -- alongside Owen Farrell, Jonathan Joseph and Henry Slade -- as one of England's key players heading forward with attention shifting to the 2019 World Cup and Ford believes their dismal showing at this tournament could yet be the making of the group.

"This is a great bunch of lads. You don't want too many experiences like this but from a young player's point of view you can do nothing but learn from these experiences you go through," he added.

"They're not nice at the time buy hopefully we'll look back on it in four years' time thinking we learned a hell of a lot there and come out of it as better people and better players. That's the big thing for us now -- to learn from it, take it on the chin, front up to it, be honest and not dress it up in any other way but come out of it as better people and better players."

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

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