Ford returns to Leeds
Leeds Carnegie have re-signed Joe Ford with the young fly-half returning to his former club on a two-year deal from Northampton.
Last Updated: 08/06/11 2:05pm
Leeds Carnegie have re-signed Joe Ford with the young fly-half returning to his former club on a two-year deal.
Ford, 21, heads back to Headingley after spending a year with Heineken Cup finalists Northampton.
The news will come as a major boost to Leeds who suffered an agonising relegation from the Aviva Premiership on points difference last season, ironically after a final-day defeat at Northampton.
Whilst suffering a largely frustrating time at Franklin's Gardens, Ford insists he is a better player for his time at the Saints.
"I am really happy to be coming back to Leeds Carnegie," he told the club's website. "Whilst things have not gone to plan for me at Northampton, I would like to thank all the coaches, players and supporters at Northampton who have been brilliant.
"It has good for me to see a different environment and work with new coaches. However, I was happy at Leeds originally and I was really pleased when I found out that they wanted me back."
Of his time at Northampton, he continued: "I have put on some weight, which I needed to do, and I have taken apart my kicking game and done a lot of work with Dave Alred and Paul Grayson to improve that side of my game.
"I feel I am a better player and kicker and I have more experience now."
Ford insists he is relishing the challenge of testing himself in the Championship next season and is also looking forward to linking up with former mentor Diccon Edwards again, now head coach at Leeds.
"I can't wait to play in the Championship next year. It is getting tougher every year and playing away will be a big leveller," he added.
"However, if we can come through that experience and get back in the Aviva Premiership we will be in a great position to build for the future.
"I am really excited to be working with Diccon again. When I agreed to sign with Leeds, I did not know who would be Head Coach but when I found out it was Diccon, that was a massive bonus for me. He is a brilliant coach and knows me very well."