England coach Eddie Jones is to enlist the help of the Georgian national team as he looks to bolster his side’s scrum techniques.
England battled to a narrow 12-6 victory over Wales at Twickenham on Sunday, and while the result keeps alive their hopes of a grand slam and third consecutive 6 Nations championship, Jones knows there is still room for improvement ahead of the remaining three fixtures.
To that effect, he has arranged two full-blooded training sessions against Georgia in London this week, taking advantage of the week’s break in the process.
Jones referred to Georgia as the possessing the strongest scrum pack in the world when discussing plans for the training sessions:
“We want to have the best scrum in the world and they’re the biggest, ugliest, strongest scrum pack in the world.
“Why wouldn’t we want to scrummage against them? It’s fantastic. We’re good friends with their two coaches, Milton Haig and Richard Graham – a Kiwi and an Aussie. They were keen on the idea and it suits us perfectly.”
England captain Dylan Hartley is in favour of the plan, and feels that training against different opponents will only serve to benefit the team going forward.
“We’re always looking to improve our scrum. It has been going well for us. By mixing it up and training against someone different we will find something out about ourselves and we will learn. It will be a really useful tool and I’m sure they will take something from it as well.
“If I scrum against Jamie George, Alec Hepburn and Harry Williams they know what we are trying to do, we know what they are trying to end and we end up negating each other. Every scrum has to be intense otherwise you get folded up like a travel map stuffed in your back pocket.”
Jones and England will have plenty of time to prepare for their next fixture on February 24th, against Scotland at Murrayfield. Gregor Townsend’s side recovered from a poor showing against Wales to defeat France last weekend, re-igniting hopes for a decent placing in this year’s tournament.