Byline: CHRIS JONES
MIKE FORD was today forced into a hasty climbdown as the fall-out fromEnglands shambolic World Cup defence threatened to tear the squad apart.
Just three days ago, Englands defence coach claimed Andy Farrell would nevermake it as a Test rugby union player because injury has wrecked his careersince switching codes.
Those comments angered Farrells club, Saracens, with director of rugby AlanGaffney claiming the England management were more interested in saving theirown jobs than getting the best out of the 32-year-old.
In an embarrassing U-turn, Ford has now been forced to issue a statementshowing his support for the former Great Britain rugby league skipper.
To add to the intrigue, Farrell was pulled out of todays press conference so hecould practise his kickingeven though he is on the bench to face Samoa in Nantes on Saturday. Ford, whoused to be Farrells club boss, said: I signed him for Saracens [in 2005]because I knew he was a special player and the attributes he had in rugbyleague he could translate to union, at No10 or 12. The fact he was agoal-kicker and a leader was a double bonus.
He is a very good technical player in terms of passing, kicking, tackling anddecision-making and he has a real follow-me attitude.
Im one of his biggest supporters in terms of him changing codes. I did thatfrom day one, during his 12 months out with injury.
The fact he got injured didnt help, but no one could foresee those situations.What we are seeing now is that he is getting better and better with every game.
Samoa are going to pose a difficult test for England and Joe Worsley said todaythat his teammates are in for one hell of a shock. …