George ready to go in for the kill against All Blacks

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

LON­DON: Eng­land’s Jamie George is happy to be among coach Ed­die Jones’s “fin­ish­ers” with the po­ten­tial to close out a fa­mous vic­tory over the All Blacks at Twick­en­ham yes­ter­day. Jones has taken to de­scrib­ing his re­place­ments as fin­ish­ers to high­light their equal im­por­tance to starters in his side, even sug­gest­ing on Thurs­day that they should have the same shirt num­bers.

Sara­cens hooker George came on for Dy­lan Hart­ley to help Eng­land to se­cure a 12-11 win against South Africa last week. The hosts go into the match hav­ing recorded only one vic­tory in their past 15 matches against New Zealand, with the soli­tary win also at Twick­en­ham six years ago.

But with the world cham­pi­ons hav­ing been ex­posed as mor­tal when South Africa re­pelled a late fight­back to cling on to a mem­o­rable 36-34 vic­tory in Septem­ber, George is con­fi­dent that he and his team mates can be re­lied on to fin­ish the job.

“The last 20 min­utes are go­ing to be hugely im­por­tant. We have seen that in the last few Tests New Zealand have played against South Africa,” he told a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day. “We know our role is very im­por­tant. That is some­thing for us to get hugely ex­cited about.

“It is very im­por­tant for us to stay en­gaged through­out the game be­cause we never know when we are go­ing to come on. But when we do, we know it is go­ing to be an im­por­tant part of the game. Hope­fully we can make a big im­pact.”

Jones has made three changes to his line-up from last week’s tus­sle against South Africa, in­clud­ing giv­ing Sale’s Chris Ash­ton his first in­ter­na­tional start in four years in place of winger Jack Now­ell. Ash­ton, who came on for the fi­nal 15 min­utes against the Spring­boks, played and scored a try in Eng­land’s 38-21 win against the All Blacks in 2012.

But George is also a player who has tasted vic­tory over the three-times world cham­pi­ons. He was part of the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions squad that tri­umphed in the sec­ond test in Welling­ton last year.

It was a mo­ment the 28-year-old de­scribed as the “best feel­ing in my rugby ca­reer so far” and one he be­lieves can be re­peated. “Half of us have beaten the All Blacks be­fore. We have drawn on those ex­pe­ri­ences this week,” he said.

“We have spo­ken about what we need to do, what we did to beat them pre­vi­ously ... We fo­cused on why we won those games and hope­fully we can bring that into to­mor­row.” — Reuters

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