Where South Africans often argue around the barbecue fire about which bakkie is the best and most reliable, for England’s Steve Borthwick there is only one winner: a Ford.
After all, George Ford scored all the Roses’ points in their unlikely 27 – 10 World Cup victory against Argentina in Marseille.
After England’s floundering performances in the run-up to the rugby spectacle in France, nobody gave the team much of a chance against the fiery Argentinians.
Additionally, Tom Curry’s red card very early in the game also gave every doomsayer and British journalist more ammunition to trash the Roses on social media.
But the 30-year-old flyhalf had other plans.
Creative kick heroes and World Cup rugby tournaments are inextricably part of each other. Think Joel Stransky against the All Blacks, Jannie de Beer against England and Jonny Wilkinson against Australia.
Now you can add Ford’s name to that list.
He put the Argentines under pressure three times with his ball-on-the-ground bounce-and-kick skills – no wonder Borthwick couldn’t smile after the game.
“George was magnificent tonight,” the England coach said after the match.
“And I’m not just talking now about his learned kicking foot that kept the scoreboard going, but also his composure on the field and the way he dictated the game.”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 9, 2023
What makes his performance more remarkable is that he gets little playing time while Owen Farrell holds the reins of captaincy.
But Farrell’s tackling technique left him back in the soup and Ford grabbed his chance with both hands while his captain was suspended.
Suddenly he is England’s great hero and Borthwick can’t stop singing his praises.
“George is a very versatile player. He can run with the ball, come up with excellent passing and kicking, while being able to think clearly in pressure cooker situations. He seemed to have so much more time than other players when he sent those set pieces over the crossbar. This is characteristic of a top quality player.”
England: Penalties: George Ford (6). Bucketheads: Ford (3)
Argentina: Three: Rodrigo Bruni. Goal kick: Emiliano Boffelli. Penalty kick: Boffelli.
- Today’s terms:
13:00: Japan vs Chile
17:45: South Africa v Scotland
9pm: Wales v Fiji