Blackadder showers Ford with praise

Bath Director of Rugby Todd Blackadder believes England pivot George Ford can become as good as Dan Carter was.

Blackadder coached Carter for seven years at the Crusaders and since taking over as coach at Bath he has been very impressed with Ford, who contributed 18 points in their opening Premiership win at Northampton last Saturday.

"You know you've got a world-class player in front of you," Blackadder told The Times

"You see it in the way that he trains and the way he plays. You saw it at the weekend – awareness, time on the ball."

Blackadder sees no reason why Ford cannot become as good as Carter, who was the world's leading fly-half for a decade and regarded as one of the greatest of all time.

"He's almost there now," he said. "They are great players both sides of the ball. People always looked at the attacking side of Dan's game but he is a great defender.

"Not many number tens are brave when it comes to putting their bodies on the line. George puts his body in some hard places. What makes him exceptional is his awareness and skillset. He is going to get better and better."