Bath Rugby head coach Mike Ford joined son George up on the stage at Wednesday night’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards after being recognised as Guinness Director of Rugby of the Season.
Ford has not only helped engineer Bath’s return to the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals for the first time in five years, but has also secured home advantage for the clash with Leicester Tigers this weekend.
It’s another huge step for the West Country club, having been pipped to the top four at the last by Harlequins in 2013/14.
The award was incredibly close to call this year, with Wasps’ Dai Young and Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter both leading their clubs onto bigger and better things while Jim Mallinder has secured top spot in the table with Northampton Saints.
But it was a family affair at the London Hilton on Park Lane, as George Ford also picked up a gong after being named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season.
And Ford senior insists their success so far this year has been nothing short of a team effort.
“I am lucky at Bath I have fantastic support around me, the owner is unbelievably supportive and ambitious and the coaches’ work ethic is fantastic too,” he said.
“The people I want to thank most are the players, Stuart Hooper is the best captain I have worked with.
“Him and the players work so hard every day – they have taken ownership of their success and hopefully we see more of that on Saturday.
“Both Cockers [Richard Cockerill] and I are relaxed. It will come down to small margins, the team that does not freeze on the weekend will probably win.
“We are really excited to play at the Rec, which has been brilliant this year – it will be packed and we have been playing some good stuff there so we are looking forward to it.”
This year has seen an explosion of Bath backs onto the international stage, with Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson both featuring heavily alongside Ford for England while Semesa Rokoduguni picked up his first cap during the autumn.
They’ve all combined to make Bath one of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s most potent attacks this year, and Ford insists that philosophy is here to stay.
He added: “We decided to recruit young, English talent and with that you have got to give them time to grow, but the boys have done really well.
“We are in a good place and have a tough semi-final against a very good side on the weekend, it is where we want to be.”
Mike Ford – Bath Rugby
Rob Baxter – Exeter Chiefs
Jim Mallinder – Northampton Saints
Dai Young – Wasps
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