Ge­orge taps into crick­eters’ se­crets

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup - By Tom Mor­gan in Tokyo

Eng­land’s rugby play­ers are tap­ping into the se­crets of their crick­et­ing coun­ter­parts’ suc­cess via Jamie Ge­orge, who has been in reg­u­lar con­tact in Ja­pan with Sam Billings.

Ge­orge, 29, and Billings, 28, have been firm friends since shar­ing a room while board­ing at Hai­ley­bury school. Billings missed the World Cup tri­umph in July af­ter dis­lo­cat­ing his shoul­der, but has been named vice-cap­tain for the cur­rent Twenty20 series in New Zealand.

He de­scribed Eng­land’s rugby dis­play against the same na­tion as

“in­cred­i­ble” last week, and a source close to the two friends con­firmed they had been chat­ting reg­u­larly on What­sapp.

Eng­land’s rugby play­ers took time out to watch the crick­eters win the World Cup so dra­mat­i­cally against New Zealand in July. “We were lucky that Ed­die is a cricket fan so he pushed a meet­ing back as it went into the su­per over,” said Ge­orge, the hooker, who also struck up a friend­ship with Eng­land cricket cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan.

“What that Eng­land cricket team has done over the last four years has been in­cred­i­ble and there were a lot of par­al­lels be­tween us and them,” Ge­orge said prior to the tour­na­ment. “We have been through very sim­i­lar chal­lenges.” As well as good luck mes­sages from Eng­land crick­eters, the play­ers will be cheered on by roy­alty and pop stars on Satur­day, with Prince Harry and Chris Martin lined up as guests. Ja­panese fans have also promised Ed­die Jones can be as­sured of lo­cal sup­port thanks to the na­tion’s tri­umph over South Africa at the pre­vi­ous World Cup.

Close: Crick­eter Sam Billings (left) and Jamie Ge­orge are old school friends

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