Aviva Premiership

Ford can be as good as Carter, says Blackadder

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder believes fly-half George Ford can be as good as New Zealand great Dan Carter.

Ford was instrumental in Bath's 18-14 season-opening victory over Northampton Saints on Saturday, converting four penalties and two drop goals to account for all of the visitors' points at Franklin's Gardens.

Carter, who worked under Blackadder with the Crusaders, was an integral part of New Zealand's 2015 Rugby World Cup-winning side, and the new Bath chief feels Ford can emulate the 34-year-old.

"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 [Ford] trains and the way he plays. You saw it at the weekend - awareness, time on the ball.

Questioned on how much improvement Ford requires to reach Carter's level, Blackadder said: "He's almost there now. 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 10s 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."

Bath face Newcastle Falcons at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.