Rugby Union

George Ford's England omission will 'hurt him mentally', says Toby Flood

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Former England fly-half Toby Flood fears George Ford may be left psychologically scarred by being dropped for Saturday's pivotal World Cup clash with Wales.

Ford, first choice in his position since last autumn, will be replaced at fly-half by Owen Farrell when head coach Stuart Lancaster announces his team for the Twickenham showdown on Thursday morning.

It is a tough call on Ford, who has been relegated to the bench despite showing reasonable if unspectacular, form during the warm-up matches and the tournament-opening 35-11 victory over Fiji.

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Flood, who won 60 caps for England from 2006 to 2013, believes the 22-year-old has every right to feel "pretty devastated" by the direction Lancaster has taken.

"George hasn't done a huge amount wrong and I could see why he potentially was a little bit upset with the decision," Flood told Kicca.

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"He would be allowed to be because ultimately he has been dropped when he hasn't actually played that badly.

"He has played a little bit hit and miss against France, a tough game against Fiji but that was always going to be the case. I think maybe this is going to hurt him a little bit mentally.

"He will be frustrated from this decision. He certainly would have felt he hadn't done much wrong and much to merit this decision."

"Owen will come in and he is a Lion and he has a wealth of experience, but the pressure certainly will be on this decision because England have shown great fluency with George at 10, a great want and desire to attack.

"Of course this is the World Cup, those things change and maybe Owen is the right decision to control this match, but really I think George will be pretty devastated by this decision because he has worked so hard to get that number one spot.

"One bad game, one average match when he really hasn't done too much wrong and he has lost the position will be hard, hard to take."

George's father, Bath head coach Mike Ford, acknowledged his son was low after learning of the decision on Sunday evening, but backed him to "respond in the right way".

"Of course George was down when he was told which way they were going to go, after having led the line over the last year," Mike Ford said in the Daily Telegraph.

"Having a setback like that is all about how you respond to it. You want players to be emotional about it because that shows they care.

"George will absolutely respond in the right way. I have no doubt about that. If you feel hard done by about something, there is no point railing about it. You have to bounce back or it will only compound things.

"He knows it is all about the team and not about him. He trained well with England on Tuesday and now can't wait to get out there on Saturday to show what he offers."

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Topics:
Rugby Union
England Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup

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