When Jamie George was named in the Lions side to face the All Blacks for the first Test in Auckland just under two weeks ago, there were some concerns over the 26-year-old’s experience.
Before this Lions series, George had never started in an international Test match, all his appearances for England have come from the bench. With his performances for the Lions throughout this tour, perhaps these concerns can now be considered unwarranted.
George has been the standout hooker on this tour and has deserved his starting position for the Lions Test side. The 26-year-old wasn’t one bit concerned about his lack of experience for starting international Test matches and cites the big games he has played for Saracens as adequate experience to perform on this tour.
“I think there’s been a lot said about me not starting a Test match before this tour but at the end of the day I’ve started a lot of big games for Saracens, European finals, Premiership finals, stuff like that and the time on the field for England over the last year has been quite high so I’m used to the intensity of it.
“I’ve enjoyed the added leadership of starting games that’s required. I’ve felt good and enjoyed starting the games.”
In addition to embracing the added responsibility that comes with starting in such intense environments, George is also enjoying playing with some of the northern hemisphere’s top players, especially in the tight five department where he has special praise for Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong.
“I’m learning a lot from the people around me; the likes of Tadhg [Furlong] and Alun-Wyn [Jones]. In the tight five it’s great playing alongside players like that. “
He’s such a fan of Furlong that when quizzed on whether Saracens should sign the Wexford man, George said he will contact Furlong’s agent himself!
“I’m going to be speaking to his agent. Formal negotiations going ahead. Looking forward to seeing him in black and red,” George quipped.
We doubt Leo Cullen or Joe Schmidt would be too keen on that idea but although Furlong is likely to be flattered by George’s suggestion, we think he is quite content with bulldozing over opposition in the blue of Leinster and the green of Ireland.
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