The optimistic coach sees real potential in German rugby
Mike Ford calls for investment in German rugby after failing to make the World Cup
Despite Germany missing out on qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2019, outgoing interim head coach Mike Ford is hopeful that the cash-strapped union will continue to push their elite 15s team.
The European side failed to come through the World Cup repechage tournament after succumbing to Canada in the second round of matches. With a significant amount of funding pulled from German rugby by billionaire benefactor and Stade Francais owner, Dr Hans-Peter Wild – including axing the Wild Academy which employed a significant number of German players –and now this, there are concerns about Germany’s future in the game. Unless more funding can be unearthed.
An optimistic Ford said: “It’d be a shame if the German rugby union didn’t carry on the programme and invest in this 15-man game. I think they will, from what I’ve heard. They’ve got to keep this group of players together. They’ve got to develop them and we need a much stronger competition in the Bundesliga (the top German league) if we can so these players can develop quicker. Because they can compete as a Second Tier nation, without question.”
In the final round of the repechage, Germany overpowered Kenya, scoring seven tries and conceding none to win 43-6. They also defeated Hong Kong in the first round, 26-9, but failed to claim a try bonus point and after losing 29-10 to Canada in round two their hope for World Cup qualification was over. But Ford has a brighter outlook after Germany’s performances in the World Cup qualifiers.
“It’s been brilliant,” Ford explains. “With a little bit more preparation from us in terms of warm-up games, we certainly would have given ourselves a better chance of winning the tournament. By 68 minutes we’re losing by seven to Canada and they score from a forward pass. You get those things – it’s not a complaint. Then we were never going to come back at 22-10.
“We did things in that game where, if we’d had a couple of warm-up games, we’d have done a lot of learning in those games. We had to learn here.
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“We didn’t concede a try against Hong Kong, we didn’t concede a try against a very good Kenya team. We made Canada work really hard. Can our attack be better, can our play be better? Of course it can but the fight this team shows is very, very good.”
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Ford is set to depart from the German set-up, but the former Bath director of rugby is open to the idea of a return to the German fold. “I’m contracted to Dallas (a potential Major League Rugby side). But if Germany want help during the Six Nations – in February and March – I’d like to do that (as a consultant), if that’s what they want.”
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