Six Nations: George Ford questions plan to condense tournament

England number 10 George Ford
"You play five Test matches within a seven-week period, and the intensity you have to train at is what people don't see" - England number 10 George Ford

England fly-half George Ford has voiced his concerns over the prospect of shortening the "tough" Six Nations.

The Rugby Football Union wants to condense the tournament by a week from 2020, but the Scottish and Welsh governing bodies oppose the move.

The Six Nations is currently played over a seven-week period, with two rest weekends.

"It's tough enough on lads as it is. To reduce that again would be really tough," Ford told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I think it's really important to have the rest weekends," he added.

Ford started every game as England retained their Six Nations title in March, despite a final-day defeat by Ireland in Dublin.

"You play five Test matches within a seven-week period, and the intensity you have to train at is what people don't see," he added.

"It takes a fair bit out of you. The Six Nations is an unbelievably hard tournament, both physically and mentally.

"You love it, and you wouldn't want it any other way, but I suppose when you come out of it you reflect and realise how tough it is."

Ford played through a back niggle on his return to club duty against Saracens, but following a week off he says he is feeling fresh before Saturday's meeting with Leicester, with up to 60,000 expected at Twickenham for the Premiership clash.

"I had a good rest week last week, a few days in the sun. You don't realise until you have that rest how much you need it - I don't think I've ever slept as much in my life," he continued.

"It's been good to come back in ready and raring to go for the rest of the season."

Ford will leave Bath at the end of the season to join Saturday's opponents Leicester, but he says it's business as usual until then.

"I'm engrossed in what's going on in the here and now. We've got a big couple of games coming up," he said.

"One thing I want to do is finish off well with the lads and hopefully pick up some silverware of some sort."

Meanwhile, before his move to the East Midlands in the summer, Ford has welcomed the arrival of Matt O'Connor as Tigers head coach, and says the managerial upheaval at Welford Road has no impact on his decision to switch clubs.

"I worked with Matt O'Connor when I was there last time, and really enjoyed working under him," he said.

Ford also says his father Mike will come back stronger after his premature exit as head coach of French side Toulon earlier this week.

The pair worked together when Mike was in charge at Bath from 2013 to 2015.

"I feel for him, but one thing about my Dad is that he will keep coming back," George Ford said. "He's still the best coach I've ever been coached by, without being biased.

"I said to him it might not be a bad thing to have a break, relax for a bit, and see what happens in the next couple of months.

"I definitely think he has developed as a coach and he will be back for sure."

Toulon coach Mike Ford
Mike Ford has left his role as head coach at Toulon having joined in October

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