Stephen Thomas interviewed Joe Ford at Carrington earlier in the week and asked him amongst other things about the banter between his Dad (Mike) and brother (George) who are key figures at Bath Rugby.
ST: Are you looking forward to the new season? JF: Very much so! I really enjoyed my first season here at the Sharks and hopefully I can kick on this season and play a few more games. ST: How has pre-season gone so far - a pretty long one I take it! JF: Yeah it has been long! But it's been a good tough one, what we have been doing is good for us in the long run. Adam Grainger has done a really good job preparing us for the new season, and I've really enjoyed it - I feel like I am a lot fitter and stronger so it has been good. ST: How have the new signings settled in? JF: They have all settled in really well, they've been brilliant. When you look at Nathan Hines, you can tell why he has lasted so long he really is the ultimate professional and then when you look at the backs that have come in, Chris Cusiter and Luke McLean, they have been really good so they have definitely strengthened the squad! ST: You've touched on my next question there - how do you think this year's squad is compared to last years? Do you feel it is stronger? JF: It has strengthened I reckon. We did lose some quality players in Henry Thomas, James Gaskell and Rob Miller, but Dimes has done a great job in bringing in internationals to replace them like for like - so hopefully we can do as well as last season, if not better. ST: We play Bath on Saturday, and obviously there is a lot of family connections with the club through your Dad and brother - was there any banter between you guys in the summer as Sale beat them both times in the league last season! JF: Sale seems to be Bath's bogey team - especially last year so I did a little! But Bath will be targeting this game, just like we are so I think it will be a 50/50 game and whoever can make the big plays on the day will win. ST: What do you make of Bath? JF: They've recruited really well and they are a young side and they will only get better with the more games they play I think and then when you bring in the like of Sam Burgess in October and they will get stronger and stronger. I think Sam will be an awesome, he is a good player and a great character and I think he will be a massive success. ST: Finally what are your personal aims this season? JF: I'd love to start more games, but mainly whatever game time I get, show what I can do and that's all I can do at the moment - just take it one game at a time and hopefully that will get me to where I want to be. Tickets are available for the game against Bath Rugby at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday and can be booked by phoning 08444-994-994. You can also call at the ticket office at the stadium or book online athttps://www.eticketing.co.uk/salesharksrugby/default.aspx. If you require a callback please email your name and number to firstname.lastname@example.org