Rugby Union: Ford to make Tigers return

Leicester Tigers academy graduate George Ford will return to Welford Road ahead of the 2017/18 season.

England fly-half George Ford has agreed to rejoin Leicester Tigers for the start of next season in a deal which will see Freddie Burns move to Bath.

Ford has been linked with a switch away from Bath since the Premiership club sacked his father Mike Ford as head coach last May and the Tigers emerged as front-runners for the 23-year-old.

Leicester on Tuesday confirmed their star academy graduate will head back to Welford Road, with Burns moving in the opposite direction to join his hometown club.

Playmaker Ford, who left the Tigers to move to The Rec in 2013, was contracted to Bath until the conclusion of the 2017/18 season and Leicester will pay compensation to take him back to the East Midlands.

Ford said: "This hasn't been an easy decision for me to make, but I feel it is the best one for me at this time.

"I've really enjoyed my time at Bath and have worked with some incredible players and coaches.  I know I have developed hugely as a player because of that."

Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger said: "We are absolutely delighted to be able to confirm the signing of George Ford, a player we obviously know well from his time here in the academy and as a young man making the breakthrough into senior rugby.

"He has become one of the leading players in his position in Europe and is still a young man with a lot of rugby ahead him. We look forward to his return to Welford Road in the summer.

"While delighted to be able to bring in George, we are disappointed to lose Freddie, who has been an outstanding player for us in the last three years. Freddie has bought totally into the Tigers ethos in his time here and he is a popular member of the squad with the players and supporters.

"Freddie has made a significant contribution on and off the field here and we look forward to him continuing to play a prominent role with us in the remainder of the season while wishing him well when he moves to Bath in the summer."