Tough season teaching George to get physical
HOOKER Jamie George admits this has been the most challenging campaign of his career after a stellar summer with the Lions.
However, with Saracens threatening a big finish after last week’s 63-13 demolition of Northampton, George is ready to face down Red Rose rivals Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Dunn and Jack Singleton as he eyes England’s summer tour of South Africa.
George, 27, said: “It seems such a long time ago since the Lions and I’ve learned a lot about myself because this has probably been the most challenging season I’ve had in terms of results and having little niggles to deal with.
“Sarries weren’t playing good rugby before Christmas when we lost a run of games, and then the Six Nations didn’t go as well as we wanted with England, but these are times when you learn and things can go one way or the other.
“At Sarries we managed to come out of our bad run and get through to the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, which no one thought we could do, and we’ve set ourselves up nicely in the league coming into this run at the end of the season. It’s got to be the same thing with England now, too, and you learn how close you are as a group.
“In the Six Nations we weren’t good enough at the breakdown and that had the knock-on effect of our attack not being sharp enough. We’ve reviewed it and Eddie Jones has asked us to improve some of the physical things in our game.”
George knows his personal contribution must be better, adding: “I want to increase my physicality in all areas of the game and impact games as much as I can. There are a lot more opportunities for me to get my hands on the ball, both for Saracens and England, and that’s what I need to be able to do now to be even more effective in games.
“I feel strong when I do get my hands on the ball, it’s just a case of doing it more often and I’m working hard on that part of my game.”
With Cowan-Dickie leading the chasing pack, George said: “It doesn’t get easier but that’s the way you want it. To be the best you’ve got to be challenging yourself and accept the challenge from elsewhere. I feel like that chasing down Dylan and when you’re involved in the England set-up, people will want to get one over on you.
“You know people will always try to bring their Agame against Sarries but that’s a challenge I relish and my focus is on setting my own standards and being as good as I can be. I’ve got a lot of stuff I’m working on at the moment and there’s a lot to play for with Sarries before an opportunity to put things right with England in South Africa.”
Learning so much: Jamie George
Rival: Luke Cowan-Dickie