Jamie George insists England must be ready to fight for every inch against Ireland’s scrappers on Sunday. The Guinness Six Nations reaches a critical juncture this weekend with events at Twickenham helping to shape a title race that Eddie Jones’ men are marginal favourites to win, despite having lost to France on the opening weekend.
One of Ireland’s strengths is the ferocious commitment of their forwards, who are wily operators on the floor, and George knows what is coming against Grand Slam-chasing opponents. “It’s attritional and that’s what you expect from Ireland,” Saracens and Lions hooker George said.
“If you look at any Irish club team, they make you fight for absolutely everything and it’s the same with the national team. They are, to a man, scrappers. They make you fight for everything and we’re fully prepared for that. Physicality is something we’ve been speaking about this week.
“When we’ve played well against these guys we’ve fronted up physically. That’s got to be at the forefront of our minds. We know we need to beat them if we’re going to win the title.
“We didn’t get off to the best start but we laid some foundations against Scotland and we’ve built on those over the last couple of weeks. We’re expecting to produce a different level to what you’ve seen from us already in this Six Nations.”
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Ireland are now under the guidance of Andy Farrell, the former Britain rugby league captain and dual-code international who has stepped up to the role of head coach having made his name as an authority on defence.
“Andy will make sure their identity always remains the same, but he will add his touch of class. He’s already taken their defence to a different level,” George said. “Having worked with him a couple of times, he’s got a great knowledge of defence, around attack and in the kicking game. He’s also got a lot of clever ideas.
“My contract is up with the RFU at the end of the season… but I’m fit as I have ever been – that’s what my scores tell me”
– veteran match official Wayne Barnes talks to @heagneyl ahead of his latest Six Nations assignment #WALvFRA ?????????https://t.co/R6KYLJ5svz
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 22, 2020
“He adds that touch of class to them. He’s a strong leader who speaks incredibly well and he’ll have them jumping out of that changing room and ready to go. That’s added a huge string to their bow and we’ve seen that in the first two rounds. We’re expecting a very physical Ireland team.”
U2 singer Bono made a motivational visit to the Irish camp at the start of the week and England have since decided which pop star they would like to see. “We actually spoke about this. If Ed Sheeran is listening then he’s always welcome into camp! We’d make him a coffee and make him feel at home,” George said.
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