George Ford dismisses Top 14 move: 'I want to play for England'

Bath fly-half George Ford has revealed his desire to continue playing for England by insisting he has no intention of linking up with his father at Toulon.

The 23-year-old was last week reportedly attracting the interest of the Top-14 side, whose ambitious and wealthy owner Mourad Boudjellal recently appointed Ford's dad Mike as coach.

That led to England head coach Eddie Jones giving an ultimatum to his players, stating he would only select squad members based in this country, which is the same policy that saw Steffon Armitage left out in the cold during Stuart Lancaster's regime.

But Ford revealed he is not interest in making an immediate move to France.

"I don't know what was going on there last week to be honest," he told the Telegraph. "It was news to me anyway. I've never met Mourad. Obviously my dad's there but I want to play for England so I want to play in England.

"After it all came out I had a quick chat with Eddie and said: 'I don't know where all that's come from'. It escalated a little bit but none of it is true and I just want to crack on basically.

"I've not met the guy but he's very ambitious and tries to build a squad with some world-class players there. You hear names every week who Toulon are trying to sign.

"They haven't got a bad squad as it is - I don't know why they need to sign anyone else. But hopefully they'll sign a few for my dad's sake."

Ford has not totally ruled out playing in France in the future, though.

"I think it would be a great life experience playing somewhere like France," Ford added.

"It is a different way of playing and living - you'd probably see the sun and the beach a lot more. I suppose it's something quite a lot of the lads have done and probably will do. I'll see where I am in a few years' time."

Ford also says he fully expected his rugby "obsessed" England teammate Owen Farrell to make a stunning return from the back injury that delayed the start to his season.

The childhood friends are set to continue as twin playmakers when South Africa visit Twickenham on Saturday with Ford operating at fly-half and Farrell at inside centre.

Farrell missed the opening six weeks of the season through a niggling injury that prevented him from kicking, but marked his comeback with a man-of-the-match performance in Saracens' 33-21 victory over Toulon on October 15.

"I wasn't surprised by Owen's form. He would have been on top of things constantly even if he was not training to his full capacity," Ford said.

"He is obsessed with the game. He'd have watched the games on TV and he'd have been having input with his team at Saracens.

"Mentally he would have been on it and I am sure physically he would have been doing as much as he can to put himself in the best position he could for when he returned.

"I am sure you would have seen he's playing brilliantly and picked up where he left off in Australia."

Farrell is one of three England players shortlisted for World Rugby's player of the year award, alongside Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje, with the winners announced on Sunday.

"There have been some outstanding performers in the team and those three especially. Other players could have made it as well," Ford said.

"The reflection of that is the way the team has gone. If the team are not winning every Test match then there are going to be less names on that list and less chance of lads playing to their potential."