"Progressive rugby" - George Ford's brother lands his first head coach role - Ruck

“Progressive rugby” – George Ford’s brother lands his first head coach role

Joe Ford, the brother of George, progressed to the role of Knights Head Coach ahead of the 2023/24 season as Steve Boden continues as Director of Rugby.

In turn, Tyson Lewis will become Joe’s Assistant Coach for the coming season.

Discussing the appointment, Joe said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank Steve Lloyd, Tony De Mulder and Steve Boden for the opportunity and the backing they’ve given me to do this role.

“I’ve been coaching now for four or five years, so this seemed like the right next step. I’m still a young coach, so I’ve still got a lot to learn, but being in this role should help develop my coaching skills even more.”

Joe originally joined the coaching team as Backs Coach for the Knights in the summer of 2020 from Yorkshire Carnegie. The former fly-half boasted an impressive playing career with Premiership seasons for Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers.

The ex-player has used the experience and tutelage acquired in his playing days in combination with an ever-developing coaching technique to create a strong back-line which can pride itself on good communication channels.

And so, a progression to Head Coach seemed a natural step according to DoR, Steve Boden.

“I think Joe has naturally progressed into the role, especially at the back end of last season, so it does take a load off of me, allowing me to focus on forwards as well as the off field side of things.

“I think we’re lucky as a club to have Joe. First and foremost, I think he’s a cracking guy. Staff trust him, he works extremely hard, he cares about the lads, and I think there’s no better person to lead some of the bigger parts of our game plan.

“It’ll also be great to have Tyson taking a bit more of a concrete role with us whilst still being the head of our Academy – which we can see he’s done a fantastic job with.

“We know who Tyson is, and what he’s done for the club – he’s been a great servant to the Knights. He continues to give high energy, he’s a good guy and so, I can’t speak highly enough of him – I’m really glad to have him.”

An extremely familiar face around Castle Park having amassed 200 professional appearances for the Championship side since arriving from Plymouth Albion in 2012, Tyson Lewis is another valued member of the Knights coaching team.

Retiring as the club’s leading try-scorer in the professional age, Tyson has played a key leadership role in the Doncaster Knights Academy – being integral in ushering a handful of Academy players through into the first team throughout the 2022/23 season for their debut professional appearances.

Tyson is ready to crack on with continuing his role as Head Coach of the Knights Academy alongside his new position with the first team.

“I look at my time at the club with a lot of pride – to see how many players I’ve played with, and how many boys have come through the Knights Academy – so this is just another great challenge.

“So, I look forward to the season ahead and seeing how it goes for the Knights.”

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England’s 2023 Rugby World Cup squad as it stands

Steve Borthwick has made it abundantly clear in a recent media session, that he is being up-front with his players regarding their chances of making the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Borthwick has left selection ambiguity behind in the Eddie Jones era, and is reportedly in constant communication with his players ahead of the trip to France. Borthwick is tasked with the challenge of cutting down his wider training squad to 33 players, and has been vocally clear-cut with his side at Pennyhill Park.

Borthwick told The Guardian: “I believe players want to know exactly where they stand.” “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.”

On Saturday August 5th, England will take on Wales in Cardiff, before Borthwick announces his 33-man squad on the following Monday, August 7th. Borthwick will then finalise his squad, and continue on with the Rugby World Cup warm-up preparations. England are booked in with a return fixture against Warren Gatland’s side at Twickenham, before facing Ireland in Dublin, and then Fiji back at ‘HQ’.

Owen Farrell, Captain of England leads his side in the national anthem during the Autumn Nations International Series match between England and South Africa at Twickenham, London on 26 November 2022 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

England then kick-off their Rugby World Cup in Marseille, in a hotly anticipated clash against Argentina on the 9th of September. Here are RUCK’s predictions for the positional hierarchy, for England’s Rugby World Cup squad pecking order.

Note – This 33-man squad is dependent on the fact that all of the named players in the 41-man wider training group are match fit and available for selection, currently injured players have an asterisk next to their name.


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Front Row

Ellis Genge of England during the England Rugby Training Sessions at The Lensbury Hotel, Teddington, London on 26 Jun 2023 (Photo: George Beck/PPAUK)

1. Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears)

2. Jamie George (Saracens)

3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears)


4. Maro Itoje (Saracens)

5. Ollie Chessum* (Leicester Tigers)

Back Row

Try Celebrations for Jack Willis of England as he goes over for a try during the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 12 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

7. Jack Willis (Toulouse)

8. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)


A dejected Owen Farrell of England applauds in the direction of the England supporters at full-time following the Guinness Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on Saturday 11th March 2023 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK.

9. Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers)

10. Owen Farrell (Saracens)


12. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

13. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)

Back Three

Freddie Steward of England during the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 12 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

11. Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers)

14. Max Malins (Saracens)

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)