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LTTV | Cup Final Preview: George Ford

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Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford sits down with LTTV to preview the 2020/21 European Challenge Cup Final against Montpellier at Twickenham Stadium.

"The most pleasing thing is the improvements we’ve made; we can see it, we can feel it. This is just another big game for us, the next step."

Speaking at the club's Oval Park training ground, Ford said the focus for the Tigers squad remains the same as it has in every round of the season so far despite heading in to Friday's final.

"The thing we have done quite well is focus on what our challenge is in that particular week," Ford told LTTV.

"We did that last week with Harlequins, played some alright stuff and got a good win. The focus this week is the final.

"The things we’ll do in the week, we’ve done the same every week, and we’ll try and replicate that to give ourselves the best chance to go and perform on Friday."

No stranger to the venue for the Challenge Cup Final, Twickenham Stadium, the England international admitted it does require some minor "tactical" changes for the group. 

"We’ve spoken about Twickenham, it is a bit different in terms of the size of the pitch more than anything," he said.

"There is some tactical things in and around that, playing at Twickenham … all those things that come with it.

"I just want the boys, every single one of us to be ready and up for it."

The Leicester fly-half was instrumental in the semi-final win over Ulster at Mattioli Woods Welford Road but, through international duty and the unique scheduling of the 2020/21 season, has only started that lone fixture during the club's Cup run and paid tribute to the entire Tigers squad for their combined effort in reaching Friday's Final. 

"Obviously with the way the season has panned out … I haven’t played a lot of rugby for Leicester, particularly in this competition," said Ford.

"The boys who have played have done a brilliant job to get us into this position. As with everything, it’s always a squad effort."

After coming under criticism during the early stages of the season for a lack of attack, the 28-year-old believes the "layers" are being put in place to add more threats with ball-in-hand.

"I think we’re looking more dangerous, more threatening," Ford responded to a question about the criticism of the side, before adding: "Attack is always the part of the game that takes the longest to develop and we had to get some foundations in place before that … and now we’re adding in some more layers from an attack point of view."

Leicester come up against one of rugby's most star-studded outfits at Twickenham on Friday evening, of which the Tigers fly-half agrees is something the squad must be "aware" of going in to the Final.

However, disagreed it would be "daunting" for he and his team-mates.

"I wouldn’t say daunting, but you’re aware they are a team full of quality players with internationals across the board," he said.

"They’re on a great run themselves … they’re playing some really good stuff.

"We’ll see the best of them, I am sure of it particularly because it’s a final. We have got to be ready for that."

When asked if a trophy at full-time was a measurement of success on the "journey" referred to daily by members of the Tigers squad, Ford poured water on the club getting ahead of itself.

"It’s just where we’re at right now as a team," he told LTTV, before saying the fixture presented the next "opportunity" for he and his team-mates.

"All it is is an opportunity up until Friday night at eight o’clock and we’ll see where we’re at at the end of it."

"The most pleasing thing is the improvements we’ve made; we can see it, we can feel it. This is just another big game for us, the next step."

After returning to the club he made his professional debut for as a teenager in 2017, following a handful of seasons with Bath, Ford and a small portion of the current crop of Tigers have endured a tough run of results in recent years.

However, after a year of significant change in Tigers Town, the club's most recent player to reach the milestone of 100 club appearances says he's "loving" life in a Leicester shirt once again.

"I am actually loving it ... I am very proud to play for this club," Ford said.

"When you start playing better, pick results up … it makes a couple of years of going through the tough stuff worth it.

"You have just got to go with the flow, keep believing and keep working hard to give yourself a chance to do what we’re trying to do this week."

Watch the full interview above on LTTV.