In response to recent comments made by Sam Burgess on the House of Rugby Podcast, Jacob Ford feels the criticism fired towards his brother, George, and father, Mike, were "extremely far-fetched.”
Burgess said he “lost respect” for his former coach Mike Ford during the 2015 World Cup and the rugby league icon also accused the ex-Bath boss of using him as a “pawn”, claiming Ford had eyes on the England coaching job.
Burgess also discussed how his friendship with George fell apart after he was named in the starting XV for England’s crucial clash with Wales at the expense of Ford, who according to Burgess, “sulked” about the decision.
Younger brother Jacob was shocked by the nature of Burgess’ comments, but believes the way his family have handled the situation has been ‘powerful’.
Talking exclusively to TRU, Ford said: “When it came out, you read it, you go through whatever was said [by Burgess] and whatever allegations were said and obviously we are biased, but knowing they [Burgess’ comments] are absolutely out there and far-fetched, you kind of laugh it off a little bit.
"I couldn't sit in the same room as Mike, I'd lost all respect for him"— RugbyJOE (@RugbyJOE_UK) June 3, 2020
In this week's episode of House of Rugby, @samburgess8 reveals all about England's failed 2015 campaign, calls Mike Ford "a snake" and says that he tried to sabotage Stuart Lancaster. pic.twitter.com/NVCPuf99TQ
“You just move on and that is why we came to the conclusion that the less you say is more powerful. It gives a better representation of who you are as an individual and what values you hold. We, as a family, have very strong values. Integrity is one of them and honesty and respect so we are very core to those values and we stick by them.”
Naturally, Burgess was asked about his career in union on the House of Rugby podcast, which included England’s disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign.
Since then, Burgess has, at times, been labelled as a ‘scapegoat’ because his selection for the tournament was seen, by some, as a reason for England’s demise and the 31-year-old looked to set the record straight whilst chatting to Alex Payne and James Haskell.
His revelations have revived the ghosts of 2015 and Burgess made his feelings clear towards Ford Snr by branding him a “snake”, claiming his former Bath boss was out to sabotage the then England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
“Nobody outside that group will know what happened or what the failings were, but what is clear to see is the evidence that that group of players stuck together and got better,” added Jacob. “I do find it hard to believe that anyone outside of that could influence certain results or certain characteristics of the team.
“Regarding his comments about my Dad, the one thing I would say is that I do think he has overstepped the mark with what he said and he is entitled to his own opinion and you have got to respect him for that, but it is extremely far-fetched, extremely out there without having almost stone-cold evidence. You scratch you head a little bit at these things.”
“You look at him now in a World Cup final and you think, ‘Jesus!’ I can’t think of anyone else who deserves to be there more than him."??????????????— Talking Rugby Union (@TalkRugbyUnion) November 1, 2019
TRU chatted to George Ford's youngest brother, Jacob, ahead of tomorrow's #RWCFinal https://t.co/90Y52CIEZs pic.twitter.com/W9TkCfEat9
Ford also found it ‘hard to believe’ that older brother George would aim his frustration at Burgess having being left out of the starting line-up against Wales.
Ford Jnr went on to list the occasions where his brother has turned the disappointment of being dropped into a positive, with England’s tour to South Africa in 2018 being a prime example.
Even in last year’s World Cup, Ford did not start against Australia in the quarter-final.
“If you were dropped for one of the biggest games of your career, if you didn’t show some sort of emotion towards that, then it could come across as ‘Does he actually care?” added Jacob.
“Whenever George has been dropped, he has been he has shown fantastic resilience and work ethic to get back to where he needs to get back to and to suggest otherwise, would be very far-fetched.
“Letting external factors influence you as an individual is not something we, as Ford’s, allow us to do. The evidence is there to show that he is an ultimate professional. Obviously, I am going to be biased but the evidence is there.”