Rugby Union

George Ford's performance puts Owen Farrell under pressure

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Scoring 13 points and setting up two tries isn’t a bad way to introduce yourself to international rugby on your first competitive start.

George Ford gave an exciting account of himself and also a glimpse of what the future may hold for England.

A 28-9 win over Samoa may not look that spectacular but in Ford, England may have found a gem to build the side around heading into next year’s World Cup.

Ford deserves to keep place against Australia

The 21-year-old was not afraid to impose himself on the match and dealt with Samoa’s physicality well, despite being the victim of a high tackle from John Leota that earned a yellow card.

Ford is almost a certainty to start against Australia in the last test of the Autumn, which means Stuart Lancaster’s biggest dilemma now concerns Owen Farrell.

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The Saracens fly-half played at centre on Saturday and looked a bit more comfortable than in the last few matches. Farrell and Ford have played together through all of the junior ranks and the chemistry between the pair was evident.

An inside-centre who has experience of playing at 10 is can only benefit the fly-half, however a genuine 12 in the form of Billy Twelvetrees and Kyle Eastmond will provide a different option to Lancaster. World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward has backed Farrell to stay in the team.

Woodward backs Farrell-Ford partnership

When discussing the Ford-Farrell combination he told Sky Sports: “But he needs a real run now - with Farrell at 12. That kick to Anthony Watson, Ford said that Farrell was calling it. You want your inside centre calling where the space is – you cannot underestimate the importance of having a really good playmaker, who is used to playing No.10 next to you."

Australia have had a mixed season, beating Wales at the Millennium Stadium, followed by narrow back-to-back defeats to France and Ireland.

A margin of just three points separated the teams in both of the Aussie’s losses and they will still provide a stern test for England to evaluate where they are at less than 12 months before the World Cup.

Australia join England in Pool A next year and the clash could decide who tops the group, placing even more importance on Saturday’s match at Twickenham.

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