'Ford has a lot to learn', says boss Cockerill
RICHARD Cockerill says George Ford must be given more time to develop after enduring a torrid day with the boot last weekend.
The 19-year-old fly-half missed five out of eight penalties in Saturday's 16-12 win against Northampton.
With Toby Flood away with England, Ford is likely to get plenty of game time over the next few weeks.
And Cockerill warned that the teenager still has much to learn, despite winning rave reviews last term.
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"George is a very good player but (against Saints) he had an off day with the boot," said Cockerill.
"He still did some very good things with ball in hand and you saw the space he created for Vereniki Goneva to set up Matt Smith's try.
"I am not going to criticise or shout at him. I will put my arm around him, encourage him and he will start next week."
Gloucester speedster Jonny May is hoping to be able to return from injury in the near future.
The 22-year-old has not played since injuring a knee in his side's 29-22 win over Wasps in September.
After initially being told he could be back within two weeks, he has become frustrated that the final stages of his rehab are taking longer than expected.
May said: "I had a grade-one PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) tear, which from one to two weeks in was testing very well and I was back up to 90 per cent.
"But just that last five to 10 per cent has taken a few weeks. Each week we've said next week, so I won't say that this time, but it is very close."
Saracens boss Mark McCall saluted his players' efforts after they made it eight wins from 10 matches at 10 different venues this season.
The Londoners are due to move to a new ground in Barnet in the new year and have moved matches around this term, with Sunday's match taking place at their recent home ground of Vicarage Road in Watford.
McCall said: "It's been an unusual 10 weeks – we've been everywhere except for Vicarage Road I suppose and we came back today (Sunday) so I'm very proud of the whole group.
"For us to have got through this 10-game period and to have lost one game is exceptional."
Northampton prop Ethan Waller, 20, has been handed his first senior contract after impressing on loan at Coventry and Moseley.