"Financial decision" - George Ford linked with shock exit from Sale Sharks - Ruck

“Financial decision” – George Ford linked with shock exit from Sale Sharks

According to The Rugby Paper, the highly-regarded England fly-half, George Ford, has caught the attention of Top 14 giants Racing 92, who are in search of a top-quality fly-half for the upcoming 2024-2025 season.

Having abandoned their pursuit of Harlequins playmaker Marcus Smith, Racing has turned their focus to Ford. However, sealing this deal may pose a challenge for them.

Ford is firmly settled in the North West and would be reluctant to move as long as he remains a part of Steve Borthwick’s England plans. Despite this, a move to Racing 92 could potentially see his season earnings double from £400,000 to approximately £800,000.

In preparation for the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership, Ford signed a long-term contract with Sale Sharks shortly after contributing to Leicester Tigers’ Premiership triumph. The Oldham-born talent commenced his professional career with the Tigers, becoming the youngest rugby union player to make his debut in England in 2009, at just 16 years and 237 days old.

After clinching a Premiership title with Tigers in 2013, Ford transferred to Bath, where he claimed the prestigious Gilbert Golden Boot as the top-points scorer and secured the LV= Young Player of the Year award. He then returned to Leicester for the 2018-19 season.

George Ford of Sale Sharks looks dejected after conceding a penalty try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final Match between Saracens and Sale Sharks at Twickenham Stadium on 27 May 2023. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

During his tenure at Tigers, Ford amassed over 80 appearances before transitioning to Sale Sharks, where he concluded his final season as the league’s leading points scorer. With 38 conversions, an equal number of penalties, and a successful drop goal, his total points tally reached 193, earning him another Gilbert Golden Boot accolade.

Making his England debut in 2014, George Ford has since earned more than 80 caps for his country. He played a pivotal role in England’s journey to the 2019 World Cup final under the guidance of Eddie Jones.

Upon announcing Ford’s signing, Sharks Director of Rugby, Alex Sanderson, hailed him as one of the world’s premier fly-halves. Sanderson also expressed his delight in bringing Ford back to his roots, stating that his return to the North West signifies a significant boost for the club and aligns with their aspirations and vision for the future.

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5 experienced players set to be left out of England World Cup squad

As things currently stand, five experienced England stars are set to miss out on Steve Borthwick’s final squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

England’s World Cup squad will be captained by Owen Farrell and vice captains will be Ellis Genge and Courteney Lawes. That makes the trio nailed on for the squad.

A number of major stars, however, are currently set to be axed from the group when Borthwick names his 33-man group.

He has held countless meetings with them, explaining where they are in the pecking order and as the 41 members of his first major squad convene on Sunday, he is sure to do so again.

“I believe players want to know exactly where they stand,” Borthwick says.

“In week one and two, we had players come in and I sat with them straight away and said: ‘This is where you stand and this is what I think you need to do to move forward.’ That’s the first thing I do. Why? As a player, I always remember that I wanted to know what I needed to do.

” I didn’t want ambiguity. My job was to get on with rugby and train, not to be second-guessing anything.”

#1. Mako Vunipola

As a member of an established Tongan rugby dynasty, Mako Vunipola has made his own mark on the game in a Saracens, England and British & Irish Lions shirt.

Brother of England international Billy, he made Test debut against Fiji in November 2012. A year later he made his British & Irish Lions debut against the Barbarians in Hong Kong and featured in all three Tests for the series win over Australia, and did the same four years later in the drawn series with New Zealand.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, he qualifies for England on residency after their father Fe’ao, a hooker, emigrated to Wales to play for Pontypool in 1998. Mako signed for Saracens in 2011 from Bristol Rugby and also played on loan for Bedford Blues. He has gone onto win four Premiership titles at Saracens and three European Rugby Champions Cups.

He has also won the 2016 Six Nations Grand Slam with England and was part of the squad that reached the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. Steve Borthwick named Mako in his 36-player squad for the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Mako Vunipola of Saracens during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final Match between Saracens and Sale Sharks at Twickenham Stadium on 27 May 2023. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

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