Starlet Ford must wait for debut

LEICESTER boss Richard Cockerill is set to resist the temptation of handing starlet George Ford a Premiership debut.

With first choice Toby Flood out for around two months with a knee injury and Sam Vesty off-loaded to Bath, Cockerill is short of options at fly-half for the visit of new boys Exeter Chiefs to Welford Road on Saturday.

At 17, Ford, son of England defence coach Mike, is considered one of the brightest prospects in the game and is knocking on the door for a first start.

But Cockerill admits he is reluctant to throw the England Under-20 international into the deep end and instead looks set to keep faith with stand-in Jeremy Staunton, with centre Billy Twelvetrees providing the back-up.

Cockerill said: “George is a very young man and is unlikely to be chucked into the cauldron. But Billy can play fly-half and the way the game is being played this season in a loose and fractious way, it may suit his game.

“Toby has had a scan and we are awaiting specialist reports on that to decide what the next course of action is. Until we get those through, there is no more news on him.”