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Ford to join Sale from Leicester in summer

George Ford has signed a three-year contract with Sale Sharks; Ford said it has been “the most difficult decision of my career” to leave Leicester, who are 10 points clear at the top of the Premiership table

Last Updated: 17/11/21 2:02pm




George Ford is to leave Leicester

Sale Sharks have confirmed the signing of George Ford ahead of next season after the England fly-half decided against extending his stay at Leicester Tigers.

Ford informed Leicester that he would not be activating an option in his contract to continue with the club beyond the current campaign and will now join Alex Sanderson’s squad in July 2022 on a three-year deal.

The 28-year-old started his career at Leicester, winning a Premiership title in 2013, and spent four years with Bath before returning to Welford Road in 2017.

Ford is the league’s leading points scorer this season with 107

“It has been the most difficult decision of my career,” Ford said in a statement on the Leicester website. “I am proud and grateful to represent this great club at Leicester and I will give my all for the rest of my time at Tigers.”

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick said Ford would be “fully committed” to the club for the remainder of the season, with Tigers currently 10 points clear at the top of the Premiership.

“George has made a personal decision, which he informed us of earlier this week, which means this will be his final season in Leicester,” Borthwick said.

“I have had the pleasure of working with him for a number of years, with England and now here at Tigers, and I am grateful to have had that privilege.

“We are fortunate to have the best following in rugby, who have been able to enjoy watching George represent their club for many years and I am sure they will echo me in thanking him for his contribution to Tigers.

“There are still a lot of games to be played in this season and George is fully committed to finishing his time at Leicester Tigers in front of big crowds at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, which our supporters can be proud of and to share in success with them.”

Leicester Tigers’ head coach Steve Borthwick

Ford, who has won 77 caps for England, is the league’s leading points scorer this season with 107 and Sale boss Sanderson believes his club are getting a “world class” player in his prime.

“George Ford is world class – one of the very best fly-halves in the game over the past five years,” Sanderson told the Sale website. “This season he’s probably playing the best rugby of his career so we’re getting him at the right time.

“I met him twice and we had the chance to show him around the ground and the fact that he’s taken this decision, in the form that he’s in, with Leicester doing so well, tells me that he believes in the ambition of this club, and in the culture that we’re building.

“He’s a northerner and his heart is very much in this area. He’s been away for some years now but he’s coming back to his spiritual home. His family is hugely important to him and I know that his life outside rugby has played a part in this move.”

George Ford will join Sale Sharks in the summer

He added: “The exciting thing for me is that he’s 28 years old, and he’s coming here in the form of his life. We aspire to be a major force in the Premiership and in Europe too and we’ve got one of the world’s best fly-halves in his pomp.

“It’s massively exciting but not just because of how talented he is. When I’ve spoken to him it’s clear that he wants to help us bring the younger players in our squad on. He has so much desire to lift the people around him and that’s the kind of person I want here.

“It’s a massive boost for the club and it’s a big indication of what we’re all about and where we’re trying to get to.”

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Royal love child Princess Delphine to join TV dance show – but palace remains tight-lipped

Belgium’s King Albert II admits he’s Delphine Boel’s father in 2020

Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg is taking part in the third season of the Belgian edition of Dancing with the Stars. Delphine, who acquired a full royal status in September 2020, will compete for charity. 

With her participation, she hopes to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organisation aiming to make true dreams of children with life-limiting and threatening conditions.

During the show, she will pair up with Dutch professional dancer Sander Bos.

Speaking about her upcoming TV appearance, Princess Delphine said: “Through this adventure, I hope to draw even more attention to the important work of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the positive influence it has on sick children and their families.”

The show, she conceded, will likely be “mentally and physically challenging” for her.

Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg is taking part in the Belgian edition of Dancing with the Stars (Image: GETTY)

Princess Delphine is the daughter of former Belgian King Albert II (Image: GETTY)

The Belgian royal said: “I am aware that this adventure will be mentally and physically challenging, but that is nothing compared to the challenges faced by sick children.”

Delphine also played down her dancing skills, saying her experience is limited to “a few, often uncomfortable, dance steps at weddings and receptions.”

Ahead of the programme, Delphine also revealed she contracted COVID-19 and is still recovering from it.

Despite being out of isolation, she said to be still feeling weak.

READ MORE: Princess Charlene breaks silence on six-month health battle

Princess Delphine attended celebrations for her country’s National Day in July (Image: GETTY)

Dancing with the Stars is to be aired on Belgian channel Play4.

The Belgian Royal Palace is understood to have been informed about Princess Delphine’s participation in the show by her husband Jim O’Hare and through a press release issued by Play4, according to Royal Central.

Belgian royal officials described her attendance as “private” and said they would not comment on it, the royal news website also reported.

Delphine’s decision to take part in the show – and to support Make-A-Wish – was hailed by Hilde Vander Stichele, CEO of the Belgian branch of the foundation.

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Princess Delphine with her husband (Image: GETTY)

Princess Delphine and her husband visiting the Royal Crypt in Laeken (Image: GETTY)

She said: “We are proud that Princess Delphine and Dancing with the Stars are giving Make-A-Wish a stage, literally and figuratively.

“We are committed to making children forget for a moment that they are ill and that they can be ordinary children.”

Princess Delphine was born Delphine Boel during Belgian’s King Albert II’s 18-year-long extramarital affair with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

Delphine, who made a name for herself as an artist, started her legal battle to be recognised by her biological father in 2013, after he stepped down as sovereign in favour of his firstborn King Philippe and lost immunity from court proceedings.

Monarchies in Europe (Image: EXPRESS)

In January 2020, Albert officially recognised Delphine as his fourth daughter after a Belgian court demanded him to take a DNA test.

Seven months later, Princess Delphine announced she was taking her father to court once again in order to gain the same rights and titles her half-siblings have been enjoying since birth.

Delphine explained her decision to fight for her royal titles was a desire to feel fully recognised as the king’s daughter.

The Belgian court ruled again in her favour and granted Delphine the full title of HRH Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg as well as the possibility to pass on to her two children the royal privilege. 

Since her victory in court, Delphine has started to create a bond with her royal relatives. 

Princess Delphine was granted full royal titles in September 2020 (Image: GETTY)

In October last year, she held a “warm meeting” with her half-brother Philippe during which they discussed their shared interests and lives.

A few days later, she also had an audience with her father and his wife, Queen Paola.

Delphine did not become a working royal following the acquisition of her titles but has attended a few key royal events.

In February, she visited alongside her husband and other royals the Royal Crypt in Laeken to pay tribute to her deceased family members.

And in July she attended celebrations for her country’s National Day.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

Read more here Daily Express :: Royal Feed