Jones defends form of wayward Ford

LONDON • England head coach Eddie Jones has leapt to the defence of George Ford, despite the flyhalf failing to convert six of his seven shots at goal during England's 27-13 victory over Wales at Twickenham on Sunday.

England scored five tries on their way to an ideal send-off for their three-Test tour of Australia but it was a day to forget for the 23-year-old Ford, who missed two penalties and four conversion attempts.

However, Jones, who started Ford in all five matches in England's grand slam-winning campaign, described the fly-half's performance as "exceptional" and expressed disappointment at the reaction of the crowd, who cheered the player's substitution.

"It's quite amazing and just shows the negative reaction in English rugby. I find it quite sad, to be honest," Jones told British media.

"I have seen Tiger Woods miss putts, I have seen Michael Jordan miss jump shots, everyone has a bad day and he had a bad day kicking but I thought the rest of his play was brilliant."

Ford, whose father Mike left his position as head coach of Bath this month, also received support from England captain Dylan Hartley.

"Obviously he didn't have the greatest day off the tee but we all have those days," the hooker said.

"I have bad throwing days but it doesn't make you a bad player."

Ford faces stiff competition for the starting fly-half role from Owen Farrell - who was unavailable against Wales due to club commitments - for the three-Test series in Australia which begins in Brisbane on June 11.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2016, with the headline 'Jones defends form of wayward Ford'. Print Edition | Subscribe