Rugby World Cup: Manchester pair Ford and Farrell to enter exclusive list

George Ford has held off Owen Farrell to start at 10 for England in tonight’s World Cup opener against Fiji, but this is far from the first time the two have competed head-to-head.

You would have to look as far back as their schooldays to find the source of their ongoing competition; they played rugby league against each other, watched by Ford and Farrell senior who both represented England and Great Britain in the sport.

Neighbours growing up, George and Owen’s relationship goes beyond just competing for a jersey, or facing off in a Premiership final as they did back in May.

Farrell’s Saracens won the final, and Ford has claimed the number 10 jersey for England’s World Cup campaign, but both can be proud of becoming just the fourth and fifth Manchester-born players to represent their country at international rugby’s biggest tournament.

ENGLAND’S ROSES: 2015 Rugby World Cup squad’s birthplaces

Peter Williams was the first to don the jersey on the big stage, playing in the inaugural 1987 edition of the event, before Andy Farrell featured in 2007 and Chris Ashton was joint-top try scorer in the latest tournament.

All three – plus Farrell Jr – are Wigan born, with Ford hailing from Oldham, and Manchester will be watching proceedings unfold more eagerly than ever this time around.

World Cup rugby visits the city for the first time ever on October 10, when Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium hosts England’s sold out clash with Uruguay.

An 8,000-capacity fan zone will also be in operation for the match, with the crowd hoping to see Manchester’s fly-halves orchestrate the hosts’ safe passage into the knockout stages.

Image courtesy of BT Sport via YouTube, with thanks.

Related Articles