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Todd Blackadder leaps to George Ford's defence

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Bath Rugby director of rugby Todd Blackadder dismissed criticism of England star George Ford after he missed four kicks at goal as his side fell to a 24-22 defeat at Newcastle on Friday evening.

Ford's future is up in the air with the England fly-half reportedly weighing up a move away from the Recreation Ground at the end of the season. But Blackadder said the speculation around his future had nothing to do with his uncharacteristic off-day against the Falcons.

"I don't think that's an excuse at all," Blackadder said. "George prepared really well, but at times players are going to have these games.

"He's a class player, he just didn't have a great night by his standards. He'll bounce back next week, I have no doubt about that."

Blackadder continued: "I'm very disappointed that we couldn't close out the game. We had a terrible first half. We were lucky we came away with anything at half-time.

"It was a big game for us so I'm disappointed with the way we started and then we managed to get ourselves back in the game, gained control, and then let it slip again.

"We didn't do the basics very well under pressure and that's not acceptable.

"It's all about pressure. You have to do the basics well week in, week out, and the last two weeks we haven't done that. The last two games we've had control and let it slip and it's just not good enough."