England head coach Eddie Jones has tipped fly-half George Ford to prove himself a classier operator than newly-crowned world player of the year Beauden Barrett, while at the same time issuing a withering put down to the New Zealand No10.
Ford was an inspirational presence for England as they inflicted a nine-try demolition on Pacific Islanders Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday. England’s 58-15 victory was their 12th in succession and maintained Jones’s 100 per cent record since taking charge.
Bath half-back Ford was dropped for England’s opening Test of their series Down Under against Australia during the summer, but has reestablished himself to the extent that Jones has lofty ambitions for the 23-year-old.
“He [Ford] can be better than Beauden Barrett, I have no doubt about that. People rave about Beauden Barrett. I don’t, although I won’t go into that,” said Jones.
“George has got a great feel for the game and he sees opportunities. He needs to work on his running game a bit because he needs to be more of a threat himself. He’s actually a bit too selfless, he needs to be a bit more selfish with the ball at times.
“He probably feels a sense of security now. I think he enjoys the sort of rugby we try to play and he has a beautiful skill set.”
Ford, for his part, is happy to continue learning from the most high-profile on the international stage. He said: “It’s intriguing to watch how the others play, how they manage the game, attack and defend. You can always pick things up and be a student of the game and learn off the best.”
Lock Joe Launchbury, meanwhile, has been cited for allegedly kicking Fiji centre Asaeli Tikoirotuma and could miss the remainder of England’s autumn fixtures if found guilty. Fit-again second row George Kruis is part of a 32-man squad for Saturday’s clash with Argentina.