George Ford
Ford representing Leicester Tigers during the Aviva Premiership
Full nameGeorge Thomas Ford
Date of birth (1993-03-16) 16 March 1993 (age 30)
Place of birthOldham, England
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Weight84 kg (185 lb; 13 st 3 lb)[1]
SchoolRishworth School
St. George's School
Notable relative(s)Mike Ford (father)
Joe Ford (brother)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half
Current team Sale Sharks
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2009–2013 Leicester Tigers 42 (265)
2012Leeds Carnegie (loan) 2 (5)
2013–2017 Bath 90 (972)
2017–2022 Leicester Tigers 88 (981)
2022– Sale Sharks 17 (124)
Correct as of 19 January 2024
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008–2010 England U18 14 (30)
2011–2012 England U20 11 (143)
2013 England Saxons 2 (0)
2014– England 91 (364)
Correct as of 19 January 2024
Medal record
Men's Rugby union
Representing  England
Rugby World Cup
Silver medal – second place 2019 Japan Squad
Bronze medal – third place 2023 France Squad

George Thomas Ford (born 16 March 1993) is an English professional rugby union player who plays as a fly-half for Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks and the England national team.[2]

Ford burst onto the scene in 2009 as the youngest player to make his professional debut for the Leicester Tigers at just 16 years old. His illustrious career includes five Premiership finals, securing titles in 2013 and 2022. Ford made his mark on the international stage, earning his first cap for England during the 2014 Six Nations Championship against Wales. Additionally, his contributions to three Rugby World Cup campaigns and the recognition as the World Rugby Junior Player of the Year in 2011 further highlight his exceptional talent and success in the sport.

Early life

Ford was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester, he is the son of Rugby League legend Mike Ford. Ford played rugby league from age five at Saddleworth Rangers and Waterhead and as a young teenager played in the academies at both Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls.[3] It was thought that he would go on to have a career in rugby league however he started playing rugby union aged 11 at Rishworth School and played for Leeds Carnegie, before eventually joining Leicester at the age of 16 and subsequently signed professional forms with them.[4] He played for England Under 18s at just 15 years of age. Bobby Walsh, one of the underage coaches at the time, remarked that he reminded him of a "young Cian Harrington" - another youth player who made the switch from league to union.[5] He then went on to captain the team in 2009–10 before moving up to the Under-20s where he started every game in a Six Nations Grand Slam, contributing 76 points. Ford then helped England to the World Juniors Final in Italy in the summer of 2011.[6][7]

In December 2009, Ford was nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.[4] In October 2011, he became the first Englishman to win the title of World Rugby Junior Player of the Year, and also became the youngest-ever winner of the award.[8]

Club career

Leicester Tigers

Ford playing for Leicester Tigers (2012)

On 8 November 2009, Ford became the youngest rugby union player to make his professional debut in England, breaking the record of international teammate Owen Farrell, at just 16 years and 237 days old when Leicester played Leeds Tykes in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.[9] His debut was doubly notable as his brother Joe was also starting at fly-half for Leeds that day.[10]

On 27 November 2010, Ford made his Premiership debut, coming off the bench in a 44–19 victory over Newcastle Falcons to become the third youngest player in Premiership history, he has since dropped to fifth youngest.[11][8] In September 2011, he made his first Premiership start in a 30–28 defeat to Exeter Chiefs, becoming the youngest player to start a Premiership match at fly half.[12][13] In January 2012, he was loaned out to Leeds Carnegie for a short period,[14] but returned to make his Heineken Cup debut, scoring his first Leicester try in the defeat of Aironi.[15][16]

On 18 March 2012 - two days after his 19th birthday - he won his first trophy for Leicester. He started in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals and final, winning Man of the Match in Leicester's semi-final win over Bath[17] and scoring 16 points in the final as Tigers triumphed over local rivals Northampton Saints.[18][19]

On 12 May 2012, Ford put in another impressive performance in a semi-final. A late replacement for the injured Toby Flood, he guided Leicester Tigers to the Premiership final, with a 14-point haul in the 24–15 semi-final victory over Saracens.[20] He retained the starting spot for the final, but his 13-point haul with the boot was not enough as Leicester lost out 30–23 to Harlequins.[21]

In January 2013, it was announced that he would be leaving Leicester Tigers at the end of the season to join Bath Rugby, where his father Mike Ford was at the time assistant coach.[22] Despite this, he continued to play a full part in Leicester Tigers' season, which culminated in the club's 10th Premiership title. Ford came off the bench in the first half of the Premiership final to replace the injured Toby Flood, and scored 12 points in Leicester's 37–17 win over Northampton Saints.[23]

In all, Ford played 40 matches for Leicester Tigers, scoring 253 points and winning two trophies.[citation needed]


On 23 January 2013, it was announced that Ford was to leave Tigers at the end of the season, to join Bath Rugby.[24] On 22 May 2014, Ford started for the Bath side that lost to Northampton in the final of the European Challenge Cup at Cardiff Arms Park.[25] The following season Ford scored 11 points in the 2015 Premiership final as Bath were defeated 16-28 by Saracens to finish runners up.[26]

After his father Mike was sacked as head coach, Ford was linked with a move away from the club and in December 2016 Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond confirmed his interest in Ford.[27]

Return to Leicester

On 14 February 2017, it was announced that Ford would be moving to former club Leicester Tigers as part of a swap deal with Freddie Burns, at the end of the season.[28]

On 2 January 2022, Ford started his 100th game for Leicester across his two spells, he scored nine points in a win against Newcastle Falcons.[29]

Ford was named as the Premiership's player of the month for December 2021.[30] In Leicester's Premiership semi-final against Northampton Saints, Ford inspired the victory scoring a "full house" with a try, conversion, penalty and drop goal for 22 points in a 27-13 win.[31] Ford started the 2022 Premiership Rugby final, but suffered an early injury and was substituted in the 23rd minute, as Tigers beat Saracens 15-12.[32]

Sale Sharks

On 17 November 2021, Leicester announced that Ford would be leaving the club at the end of the 2021–22 season to join Premiership rivals Sale Sharks.[33] Due to a ruptured Achilles suffered in his final game for Leicester, Ford was unable to feature for Sale until February 2023.[34] He made his debut for Sale in the Premiership Rugby Cup against Bristol Bears.[35] Ford started the 2022–23 Premiership Rugby semi-final against his former club Leicester Tigers kicking 11 points in a 21–13 victory, which took Sale to their first Premiership Final in 16 seasons.

International career

England U18

Ford started playing for England U18s when he was 15 years old. He later became captain of the team.[2] Ford was a regular in the successful England U18 side from 2008 to 2010. He was first selected for the 2008 end-of-season tour to Argentina at the age of just 15,[36] and was first choice fly-half for the 2009 and 2010 Six Nations and for the 2009 tour to South Africa. He missed the 2010 tour to South Africa due to club commitments[37] and in his absence the team's three year, 25-game winning run came to an end with a 23–17 defeat to the hosts.[38]

England U20

At the start of the 2010–11 season, still aged just 17, Ford was called into the England U20 squad for the 2011 campaign. He made his debut at fly-half in the opening U20 Six Nations game against Wales, scoring six points in England's 26–20 victory.[39] He went on to start every game in the tournament, winning Man of the Match awards in the victories over France, Scotland and Ireland as England won the Grand Slam.[40]

Despite being the youngest player competing at the 2011 U20 Junior World Cup, he remained first-choice fly-half as England finished in second place following victories over Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and France. The 33–22 loss to New Zealand in the final[7] was the first time that Ford had tasted defeat with an England team since March 2008, when he was playing for the U16s. Such was the standard of his performances, however, that he won the World Rugby Junior Player of the Year award,[8] beating New Zealanders Sam Cane and Luke Whitelock who were also shortlisted.

In 2012, Ford was made captain of the U20 side, and led England to an impressive 59–3 victory over Scotland in their opening Six Nations match.[41] However, due to club commitments, that was the only match he played in the 2012 Six Nations. Ford was also left out of the squad for the 2012 Junior Rugby World Cup in order to have a full pre-season programme with Leicester.[42]

Despite still being eligible for the U20s in 2013, Ford was instead promoted into the England Saxons when the Elite Player Squad was named at the start of the 2012–13 season.[43]


Ford made his England debut as a replacement against Wales in the penultimate round of the 2014 Six Nations Championship as England claimed their first triple crown in over a decade.[44] The following weekend saw him make a 10 minute appearance against Italy in which he made a good break to set up a try for Chris Robshaw as England finished runners up.[45]

On 6 February 2015, he was man-of-the-match in England's win over Wales in the opening match of the 2015 Six Nations.[citation needed] He scored his first International try in the penultimate round against Scotland.[46] In the final game of the tournament, he scored 25 points including a try in England's thrilling 55–35 win over France as they finished runners up again.[47]

Ford was named in Stuart Lancaster's 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[48] He was picked to start in the tournament opener against Fiji as England won 35–11,[49] however, one week later, Ford was dropped in favour of childhood friend Owen Farrell.[50] England were subsequently knocked out in the pool stage,[51] becoming the second after Wales, as host nation to fail to qualify for the knock-out rounds of their own tournament. The 1991 tournament was jointly hosted between Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

Following the departure of Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, Ford was selected in new coach Eddie Jones' first squad for the 2016 Six Nations Championship.[52] He scored a try against Italy[53] and was the starting fly-half as England secured their first grand slam since 2003.[54] Later that year he was part of the side that won 3-0 on their summer tour of Australia[55] and in the 2016 Autumn Internationals scored a try against South Africa as England defeated the Springboks for the first time in a decade.[56]

Ford was also a member of the side that retained their title during the 2017 Six Nations Championship,[57] missing out on a consecutive grand slam with defeat in the final game away to Ireland which also brought an end to a record equalling 18 successive Test victories.[57] Ford missed out on the 2017 Lions tour and instead was a member of the side that won 2-0 on their tour of Argentina, scoring a try in the first match.[58] On 18 October 2018, Ford played his 50th test for England against Japan.[59] Ford also captained the team that day,[59] which was his first test as captain.

Ford was included in the squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup[60] and scored tries in pool stage games against the United States[61] and Argentina.[62] He was dropped to the bench for the quarter-final against Australia[63] but returned to the starting lineup for the semi-final against New Zealand[64] and defeat in the final against South Africa as England finished runners up.[65]

After the World Cup, he scored a try against Ireland in the 2020 Six Nations Championship[66] which England went on to win.[67] Later that year Ford started for England as they defeated France in extra-time to win the Autumn Nations Cup.[68]

During the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, Ford scored all of England's 27 points, kicking 6 for 6 on penalties, as well as converting 3 drop goals by half time against Argentina on 9 September. England won 27-10 at the end of the match.

Personal life

Ford is the son of former England defence coach Mike Ford. His older brother Joe was also a professional rugby player.[10]

Ford had tied the knot with partner, Atdhetare Hoxha in a ceremony on the 15th August 2022. Atdhetare’s family own and run the restaurant, Mazzo, in Royton, Oldham.

Career statistics

List of international tries

No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 14 March 2015 Twickenham Stadium, London, England  Scotland 15–13 25–13 2015 Six Nations Championship [46]
2 21 March 2015 Twickenham Stadium, London, England  France 32–22 55–35 2015 Six Nations Championship [47]
3 14 February 2016 Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy  Italy 8–6 40–9 2016 Six Nations Championship [53]
4 12 November 2016 Twickenham Stadium, London, England  South Africa 28–9 37–21 2016 end-of-year rugby union internationals [56]
5 10 June 2017 Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan, Argentina  Argentina 31–17 38–34 2017 England rugby union tour of Argentina [58]
6 4 February 2018 Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy  Italy 32–15 46–15 2018 Six Nations Championship [69]
7 16 March 2019 Twickenham Stadium, London, England  Scotland 36–38 38–38 2019 Six Nations Championship [70]
8 26 September 2019 Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium, Kobe, Japan  United States 5–0 45–7 2019 Rugby World Cup [61]
9 5 October 2019 Tokyo Stadium, Chōfu, Japan  Argentina 20–3 39–10 2019 Rugby World Cup [62]
10 23 February 2020 Twickenham Stadium, London, England  Ireland 5–0 24–12 2020 Six Nations Championship [66]

as of 6 December 2020[71]




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