England's George Ford ready to face Ireland after recovering from his Achilles injury
England fly-half George Ford has recovered from an Achilles injury and in contention to face Ireland while forwards coach Matt Proudfoot explains the omission of flanker Jack Willis from the squad
Last Updated: 18/11/20 10:30pm
George Ford is raring to go after recovering from an Achilles injury to place himself in contention for a role in England's pivotal Autumn Nations Cup clash with Ireland.
Ford missed the emphatic victories over Italy and Georgia that opened the end-of-year campaign because of a pre-existing Achilles injury but the Leicester fly-half has made a full recovery.
Head coach Eddie Jones names his team on Thursday morning with Ford pushing hard to either reclaim the playmaking duties from Owen Farrell, forcing England's captain to move to inside centre, or supplying cover from the bench.
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"I feel great, I honestly feel great. It's the best it's felt on the field, running around in training, not being aware of it. So I'm happy," Ford said.
"It was an ongoing niggle and I had been able to manage it and not miss any training or playing time, but it got to the stage where needed to get to the bottom of it before the risk of anything more serious occurred.
"Fortunately, I am here and part of an environment where we have a brilliant medical team to get to the bottom of it, which we have done.
"I have had three and a half weeks of rehab now and it is feeling as good as it has ever done, so I am really happy to be on the right track with it."
A 25-man squad has been retained to finalise preparations for the visit of Andy Farrell's team to Twickenham with one back and one forward to be jettisoned, unless Jones opts for a six-two split on the bench.
One missing face is Wasps flanker Jack Willis, who delivered an outstanding try-scoring debut against Georgia but has now been frozen out.
Overlooking a rookie who has performed well is a well-trodden path by Jones, who likes to deliver well-timed shots across the bows to keep his players hungry.
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"We're very pleased with Jack, he's done very well and is pushing hard and growing," forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said.
"We want him to be a better player week in, week out and we feel he's doing that. He has a good appetite to learn and has a bright future ahead of him.
"He did well against Georgia, his first cap produced a try and he performed really well in tough conditions for a loose forward.
"He really had to dig deep and he did. It was great for a forward to put in a debut like that."
When asked about Willis' omission, Proudfoot said selection is partly shaped by a detailed analysis of the opposition.
"You look at what you've got at your disposal. You look at the challenge. And then you pick the best 23," he said.
"Each guy has got to be pushed during training sessions to show that he's in the best form and we're looking at what the opposition presents us.
"The Irish forwards, especially the loose forwards, are very very good. CJ Stander, Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier are unbelievable loose forwards.
"So we're looking forward to meet that challenge, how best can we nullify that threat of theirs, and we select what we feel is the best team to counter that threat."