George Ford admits there is plenty of pride among he and his Leicester Tigers team-mates after reaching the Gallagher Premiership Final, considering where the club was just over a year ago.
However, while smiling after the 27-14 victory over Northampton Saints, the Leicester fly-half says there is no feeling within the Tigers ranks that the job is done this season.
“It wasn’t too long ago that we were fighting for a place in the Premiership, let alone the Premiership Final,” Ford said after the match.
“We were facing relegation just over a year ago and, to be here now, is a credit to Steve, his coaching team and the club to be in this position.
“That’s all it is, an opportunity to win something - we need to work hard next week and prepare well to be the best we can be on Saturday at Twickenham against a top class team in Saracens.
“We haven’t won anything yet, we know that, but we will celebrate this result and the effort that has gone in over a long time to be back in the mix.”
Ford received 38% of votes to win the Fans’ Favourite award for his role in the victory, which included 22 points - including a ‘full house’ of try, conversions, penalty goals and a drop goal.
Speaking about the supporters and club he will depart at season’s end, he said: “What a club, what a stadium, what a group of people.”
“I have loved every second of being a Leicester Tigers player, over eight years in two stints, and have a week left as one.
“I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to represent this club and represent the supporters we have, especially on days like today when Mattioli Woods Welford Road is buzzing like it is.”
Ford also paid tribute to long-time friend and team-mate Tom Youngs and his family, following the passing of Tiffany Youngs earlier in the week.
He has spent the majority of his professional career playing alongside Tom and Ben Youngs for both club and country and said Tiffany was an inspiration to all on and off the field at the club.
“What the family have been through, nobody can imagine,” said Ford.
“The effort today, from every single person at the club and all of our supporters, that was for the Youngs and Sands families.
“They’re part of this place, more than most others have ever been, and we set out to bring even the smallest amount of joy to them with the effort we put in today.
“Tom is here, with Maisie, today and that, that result, was for them.”