George Ford praised the Tigers’ performance



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Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick hailed George Ford after the opening half delivered a first-class performance in their Premiership victory over the Exeter Chiefs.

His England international colleague George Martin won the man of the match award, but Ford stole the show with a 34-19 victory at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

Ford was given the summer by Eddie Jones, missing wins over the United States and Canada to recover from a calf injury, but on the opening day of the new season he was outstanding.

Fight for England Shirt 10

The 28-year-old now faces a fight to start the fall series in England with contenders Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith at the opening, but Borthwick insisted he was already in his stride.

“George Ford for me controlled this game for a big part. It was great to see him fit again and perform as well as that,” said Borthwick.

“You can see by the way he played the sharpness he had in his game. He will only get better. I watch him on the training ground and he’s lively. He brilliantly controlled this game.

Leicester got the bonus point with their five-down rout in front of a noisy crowd, but Borthwick is keeping the outcome in perspective.

“We are happy with the start but understand that Exeter was severely short of players,” he said.

“It was an Exeter team that changed a lot, but with respect for that we are happy with what we have done. We put the foundation in place last year and now we are trying to build it.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter was frustrated with the Chiefs’ inability to capitalize on their chances after their pack was unusually squandered when they camped on the home line.

“Without breaking it down into every little mistake we made, the story of the game was that we had enough five-yard pressure and enough opportunities to score more points than we did,” said Baxter.

“You’ve probably seen Leicester score a few tries that weren’t characteristic for us to concede and with the combination of the two we ended up with the scoreboard looking like it was.

“I feel like there were a lot more than 19 points for us, that’s probably the story of the game.

“Part of it is a day off and part of the guys we have there have to improve. It’s not as simple as just saying it’s a day off. It’s not an easy thing to convert, I think Leicester defended it very well.

“At one point there was a huge tally of penalties, we finally got the yellow card, but almost by then they had done enough damage to stop us that we couldn’t back them up. . “

Chris Boyd demands more from ‘rusty’ Northampton

Meanwhile, Northampton rugby manager Chris Boyd was unhappy with his side’s performance against Gloucester in the Premiership despite their 34-20 bonus point victory.

He saw his men take advantage of Gloucester’s indiscipline to score four tries from George Furbank, Nick Auterac, Tom Wood and James Grayson, the latter adding two penalties and three conversions.

Ollie Thorley, Jordy Reid and Jonny May scored the Cherry and Whites’ tryouts, with Lloyd Evans scoring a penalty and a conversion in the loss at Franklin’s Gardens.

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