George Ford and the England rugby side play in the World Cup final against South Africa on Saturday and Blues fans have a reason to cheer on the fly-half as he is one of our own – and you can find out which of our current Chelsea squad he thinks could do well on a rugby pitch…
Ahead of last weekend’s semi-final matches, when England produced one of their greatest displays to defeat New Zealand, we told you about Chelsea’s links with three of the four sides who were competing for a place in the final.
In that article we revealed Ford is a big fan of the Blues – and we’ve dug out an old interview he did with Chelsea magazine around the time the club won the Premier League title in 2015 to bring you the reasons why Blue is the Colour for one of England’s leading rugby players.
‘I was living in London when I was younger, around the time I first began to get into sport,’ he began. ‘I started following football and Chelsea were the closest team to where I lived and I enjoyed the way they played. I always liked players such as John Terry and Frank Lampard, so from then on I just wanted Chelsea to win and I haven’t changed since.'
At the time of the interview, the Blues were yet to lose a game which Ford had attended, leading him to describe himself as 'a lucky omen'. Whether that is still the case, we’ll have to wait and see for his next visit to the Bridge…
Another topic of discussion was Gary Cahill, who had taken part in a football/rugby crossbar challenge with Ford to mark the St George’s Day celebrations in 2015. Watch the video below to see how they both got on, although it’s fair to say both men picked the right sport to push on with as kids – despite Ford’s kind words for our former skipper.
‘Gary is an unbelievably nice guy, very down to earth, and it was great to spend a couple of hours with him messing around with a rugby ball and a football, doing different challenges and stuff,’ said Ford.
‘To be honest, he was pretty handy at kicking a rugby ball. He kicked well off the floor and he did some drop goals as well, so I would probably say he was better at kicking a rugby ball that I was at football.
‘I played at school and then I joined a local club for a season when I played football and rugby at the same time. When you’re younger you just go out and play loads of sport.’
When asked if he enjoys watching the players who like to, shall we say, mix it up on the football pitch, Ford responded as a true fly-half should!
‘I’m always impressed by the skill level on show,’ he said. ‘I love to watch players take on their opponent and the range of passes they can produce. I always enjoy watching the creative midfield players who like taking people on, creating opportunities and obviously scoring a few goals themselves.’
Saying that, he still has plenty of time for those centre-backs who throw their bodies on the line for the cause, something with John Terry did for many years while establishing himself as our Captain, Leader, Legend.
‘You see some of the challenges that go in from defenders and their desperation to stop goals and get in the way of shots is a brilliant side of the game as well,’ he added.
‘In my sport, there are a lot of lads who do that – most of them, week in week out, in fact! I’ve got nothing but respect for that kind of sportsman, regardless of which sport they play.’
As for which players from our 2014/15 Premier League-winning squad he’d pick as a decent rugby player, he unsurprisingly plumped for three defenders – one of whom is currently enjoying a prolonged run in the team under Lampard.
‘I think Ivanovic would be useful and maybe Zouma as well. And having seen Cahill, he’d be very useful in the line-out!’
Good luck on Saturday, George, and see you again soon at the Bridge to continue that ‘unbeaten run’ of yours - hopefully with a World Cup winners' medal around your neck…