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Cup experience stands Ford in good stead

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George Ford says the experience of the Junior World Championships will stand him in good stead when he returns to Leicester Tigers.

Tigers fly-half Ford contributed 18 points as England U20s booked their place in the JWC final with a 33-18 semi-final win over France.

Ford scored one of England’s three tries and kicked three penalties and two conversions to help England through to a final showdown with New Zealand on Sunday (6.10pm) in Padova, Italy.

And Ford says that testing himself against the world’s best players can only be good for when he returns for pre-season with Tigers.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing in the Junior World Championship,” said Ford. “It’s a valuable experience and to be able to test yourself against the best players from across the world will stand us all in good stead in the future.”

He added: “It was a really tough game against the French, but we prepared well and executed our game plan pretty well. France are a physical side who have an air of unpredictability so it was really pleasing to get the four tries and secure the win. They caught us out on a couple of occasions which made it close but we pulled through in the end.

“It was nice to go over for my try – I don’t get many, but the phase play in the build up was excellent. We’ve got players who don’t know when to give up and the forwards looked after the ball very well and things just opened up for me, but there’s no way I’m taking any of the credit – it was a massive team effort.

It will be the third time in the four-year history of the JWC that England and New Zealand have met in the final.

New Zealand won on the first two occasions and are the only winners of the tournament and Ford is aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

“We know that were in for a tough match against New Zealand in the final,” said the 18-year-old. “But anyone can beat anyone on their day so we’ll prepare as well as we can and look to produce our best rugby. It will be our last game together as a group and we want to give it absolutely everything.”