Jamie George has insisted that England’s Autumn Nations Cup final against France means a great deal to the squad, despite the French naming a second-string squad.
France have been unable to pick their strongest available team for the game, as the French rugby union (FFR) made a deal with the French league (LNR) saying they would not play each player more than three times this autumn.
Fabien Galthie used the bulk of his best team in France’s opening three fixtures this autumn against Wales, Ireland and Scotland and has been left with a largely inexperienced side for England.
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While many pundits and fans have suggested that this takes away from the prestige of the tournament, George insists England are taking the game seriously.
“No one in this environment is calling it the Mickey Mouse Cup.
“Inevitably the end goal of what we wanted out of this campaign was to be in this situation and to be in a position to win the trophy. That’s our focus,” George told Sky Sports.
Looking to make up for England’s last final appearance
Eddie Jones will be hoping that the Autumn Nations Cup final will go better for his troops than their last final outing, a 32-12 loss to South Africa in the 2019 World Cup final.
George has played in his fair share of finals at club level but believes many of his team mates will gain valuable experience from the final showdown with the French.
“It’s great exposure for us; it’s a great experience for us to be able to play in finals.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win a few at Saracens and the more experience you get in finals rugby the better you get.”
“There are a lot of people in this team that have played in big finals before.
“This time last year we were playing in a pretty big final and it didn’t go our way. Hopefully it can be different this time around,” George commented.