Leicester good enough to escape relegation battle, says Mike Ford | Sport

Leicester’s new consultant, Mike Ford, believes the team have the talent and desire to escape the relegation scrap. The former England and Ireland defence coach has been hired for the remaining five matches of the season and following a run of eight defeats in 11 games that have dropped Leicester to 10th, five points above the bottom club, Newcastle, their opponents in the north-east next week.

Before then, they face the leaders Exeter at Welford Road on Saturday. It was the 40-6 defeat at Sandy Park on the opening weekend of the season that prompted Leicester to sack coach Matt O’Connor. He was replaced by Geordan Murphy, initially on a caretaker basis, but their poor form on the road has continued.

Three of Leicester’s matches are at home, where their record has been comparable to Harlequins, who are in fourth, three defeats and five victories. Their only away victory was at Twickenham in the east Midlands derby.

“Nobody is in this position by choice,” said Ford after his first training session on Monday. “It is just a case of fine margins. The lack of confidence is huge and you get that back by training well. They are good enough players to recognise that and it was really good today in terms of energy, desire and fight. There was a great buzz, surprisingly.

Mike Ford previously worked with Bath and Toulon and also helped Germany’s unexpected push for a World Cup place.

Mike Ford previously worked with Bath and Toulon and also helped Germany’s unexpected push for a World Cup place. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

“I have come in to oversee things and help Geordan. It’s a lonely place at the head of a rugby club. I have been friends with Geordan for a long time and I can guide him.”

Ford, a former Bath director of rugby who had a stint with Toulon, will link up again with his son, George, the England fly-half. He was linked with Leicester earlier in the season but attempts were being made then to end relegation, something the Premiership clubs now accept will not happen after opposition from Twickenham.

Gavin Henson may have played his last professional game. The 37-year-old former Lion has been left out by the Dragons for their two Pro14 matches in South Africa this month and will not be offered a new contract.

The Ireland flanker Dan Leavy will miss the World Cup after suffering a “complex” knee injury during Leinster’s European Cup quarter-final victory over Ulster. “Dan had a scan but he needs further assessment this week,” Leinster said in a statement. “He has been ruled out for the rest of the season and into the next one.”


Source link : https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/apr/01/leicester-good-enough-lift-mike-ford-premiership-relegation

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Publish date : 2019-04-01 18:30:00

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