Daily Mail

Gutted George apologises for French fiasco


JAMIE GEORGE apologised to England fans after the recordbrea­king rout at the hands of France, admitting he understood why thousands of them left Twickenham early in disgust.

The Saracens hooker is one of the national team’s senior statesmen and is known for his honesty in adversity.

And sure enough, the 32-year-old did not seek to make any excuses for the hammering, instead offering a blunt and damning assessment along with a profound statement of contrition.

Asked about the mass walk-out by a large section of the crowd while the game was still going on, George said: ‘It’s tough to take because I can relate to that. I’m a fan myself and to hear that is really tough.

‘We haven’t been good enough for the England fans for a little while and I can relate to what they are feeling, but what I’d like to say is please stick with us. Hopefully we don’t disappoint them like that again.

‘I want to apologise because I’m one of them really. I’d be gutted if I’d turned up to Twickenham and seen an England team play like that. We are sorry and we need to make sure we get better and learn from this experience, because it’s clear we have a long way to go.’

England will conduct an urgent and forensic inquest into what went wrong against the world’s No 2-ranked team, knowing that they have just a handful of days to rectify their problems before visiting No 1-ranked Ireland.

George acknowledg­ed that their feeble performanc­e against the French will be horrible to review.

‘That was nowhere near good enough,’ he said. ‘I’m gutted about what we put out there.

‘It’s going to be a tough watch back but we need to turn it around because we have another big Test on Saturday and we can’t do that to England fans again. We’ve got to make sure we are a lot better come Saturday.

‘You use situations like this. We’re hurting and we never want to feel like this again. You want to make sure we learn and get better because it’s a big six months now (leading into the World Cup) and it’s a big week ahead, so it has to be a priority.

‘France were excellent. They took their chances and the way they pulled us around was impressive. Tactically they were very, very good, but we’re just so disappoint­ed with what we put out there. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.’

Head coach Steve Borthwick spoke at length after the ordeal at Twickenham about how much he and his squad were hurting — and hinted there might be a need for anger as well as calm reflection in response.

Asked how England should hit back, George said: ‘You obviously have to look at the technical side of the game and the tactical side of the game, so you have to be calm in that respect.

‘If we are going to learn from what France did well, we have got to be calm and clear about the plan, what went wrong and what went right. But what will also come into question is our mentality and attitude and that’s probably the toughest thing to take.’

There was an outpouring of angst from disgruntle­d England supporters after the defeat and they will now fear the worst in the final round of the Six Nations, as Borthwick’s team face the Grand Slam-chasing Irish.

Within the England camp, they will regroup and seek to harness a feeling of being seen as huge underdogs in Dublin.

‘Everyone will write us off,’ said George. ‘What we’ve got to do is make sure we have the best week of this eight-week campaign, in terms of how quickly we are going to learn and getting a plan together to really put Ireland under pressure and come away with a win.

‘Today, we didn’t turn up. It isn’t panic stations by any means, but there need to be conversati­ons about how we move on.

‘We are not happy with where we are. We are disappoint­ed with the way results are going and the focus for us has to be putting smiles back on faces.’

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Sorry: Jamie George
GETTY IMAGES Sorry: Jamie George

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