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Exiled Lions star hopes for Premiership and England return

By Paul Smith
George Kruis fends off Maama Vaipulu in a strong cameo against Tonga. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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England 2019 World Cup final starter George Kruis has told RugbyPass that ‘the most likely scenario’ will see him return to the Gallagher Premiership next season.

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The man many consider the world’s leading lineout specialist joined Japan-based Wild Knights in 2020 following an 11-year career at Saracens.

In the process the now 31-year-old took himself out of England consideration and therefore made inclusion in last summer’s British & Irish Lions tour party less likely.

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But while Kruis is mulling over a number of options – including devoting more time to the rapidly developing business venture Fourfive he set up with former teammate Dominic Day – he described a Premiership return as his preferred option.

“I have one more year on my contract in Japan then my options are open,” he said.

“I could stay over there, look to head back to the Premiership and play or develop my business interests.

“At the moment I think the most likely scenario is heading back to the UK in May 2022.”

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Kruis said he has already had more than one approach from English clubs before going on to drop a huge hint about his preferred destination.

“I have already had interest from some clubs but it is important to me to find the right club where I want to be,” he said.

“Coming back to play for a club like Sarries would obviously be of interest.”

Kruis also hopes by returning to the Premiership he will make a case to add to his 45 England caps – but is realistic about what would be required.

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“If I do end up back in the UK I would have clear interest in playing at as good a level as I can,” he said.

“But I’m also clear that by removing myself from England I have made things tougher so any future involvement would depend on my performance levels when I return.

“It’s a very simple equation – you have to play well enough to be picked.”

Two years of the Japanese Top League (now League One)’s relatively short season means Kruis has fewer miles on the body clock than would otherwise be the case, and he believes he has plenty of playing time left.

“I’m not sure how long I will go on,” he said. “It will depend on where my mind and body are at, but my current mindset is that one or two more contracts are doable.

“I’m definitely of the attitude that I don’t want to still be playing when my body is really sore and a problem.

“I want to leave rugby on my own terms – that is really important for me – and by developing bits off field now I have other things to go to post rugby.”

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Exiled Lions star hopes for Premiership and England return

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