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Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 11:18 UK

Saints sign promising fly-half Joe Ford from Leeds

Joe Ford
Ford joins Calum Clark in moving to Saints from Leeds Carnegie

Northampton Saints have signed promising teenage fly-half Joe Ford from Leeds Carnegie.

The 19-year-old came through the Leeds academy and scored 18 points in a man-of-the-match performance against Leicester in the LV= Cup this season.

"I'm looking forward to joining one of the biggest clubs in the country and working with the coaches," Ford said.

"If [Paul Grayson] can do half of what he's done with Stephen Myler and Shane Geraghty it will be great."

"The Premiership has been a massive step up," he added.

"It is also something I'm enjoying and I want to play more of it in the next few years. The possibility of playing in the Heineken Cup is also massive.

"But I'm not underestimating how hard it will be to get in the team. I'm going to get my head down and hopefully get my chance in the big games. "

Having three players of this quality will only be good for the club.

Saints director Jim Mallinder

Ford recognises the role Leeds have played in his development.

"Leeds have been great with me. [Academy manager] Diccon Edwards helped me with my development and Andy Key and Neil Back gave me my chance and put a lot of faith in me."

Ford has a 75% success rate in goal kicks, the fifth-best in the Premiership.

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says Ford is one of the stand-out young players in the Guinness Premiership.

"Although he is still in his teens he has demonstrated a good rugby brain in the games that he has played.

"He has also performed under pressure against some top teams and that points to a bright future in the game.

"Joe will be joining Stephen Myler and Shane Geraghty in competing for a first team shirt next season.

"Having three players of this quality will only be good for the club as we look to remain competitive at the top end of the Guinness Premiership and in the Heineken Cup."

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see also
Edwards proud of Carnegie academy
31 Mar 10 |  Leeds
Leeds' Ford targets starting spot
10 Nov 09 |  Leeds
Leeds coach hails academy talent
18 Dec 09 |  Leeds

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