Tough sea­son teach­ing George to get phys­i­cal

The Rugby Paper - - News -

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

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