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'I've heard rumours of lads doing 20kms in the first two days of their week, that's like ruin-your-knees time'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Visionhaus via Getty)

George Kruis believes his experience of rugby so far in Japan has been rejuvenating for his body, adding that he hasn’t given up on the outside possibility of 2021 Lions tour selection even though he is now ineligible to play for England after leaving Saracens.


England were due to take the field in Sunday’s Autumn Nations Cup with a starting line-up containing 13 of the XV that began last year’s World Cup final versus South Africa, Kruis and injured midfielder Manu Tuilagi the only two who were marked absent until Mako Vunipola pulled out on Saturday with an achilles injury.       

The lock, who started in the 2017 Lions Test series opener versus the All Blacks, last featured for England in March’s Six Nations win over Wales.

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George Kruis talks England, life in Japan and what his future holds

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George Kruis talks England, life in Japan and what his future holds

Kruis will be 31 and without a Test level cap for 16 months by the time the Lions begin their three-game series versus South Africa next July, but he believes the way of rugby in Japan will ensure he is fighting fit to merit at least a mention when Warren Gatland sits down to select his tour party. 

“I’d love to do it,” said Kruis during a guest appearance on All Access, the RugbyPass interview show hosted by Jim Hamilton. “Short-term I have got the option to take another year out here (in Japan) so I have got to make some decisions around that. 

“I know I have distanced myself a bit from Lions and bits like that but I would still be unbelievably keen to get involved in some part but I’m not unrealistic, I understand what his decision has done.”

Kruis, who will play for Panasonic Wild Knights following more than a decade at Saracens, added: “I’ve had an eight-month pre-season, I’m in cracking nick. My body is feeling good. The time off, it’s quite nice to walk around and not feel a little bit stiff most days. The body is feeling good. 


“You do get these horror stories of Japan or France… we are extremely lucky. I did a fair chunk of research into who would be leading a lot of it but also on the strength and conditioning side, who’s leading that, and we have really got a great outfit, to be honest. 

“We’re not getting murdered. This is pre-season time and I have heard rumours of lads doing 20kms in the first two days of their week, that’s like ruin-your-knees time. We are very fortunate, we’re being managed unbelievably well. We’re on a down week at the moment so training is quite light this week. It’s good, it’s pleasing.”


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Jon 2 hours ago
Sam Cane was unfairly cast in Richie McCaw's shadow for too long

> McCaw’s durability and sustained excellence were unique, but we seemed to believe his successors were cut from the same cloth. It’s easy to forget McCaw was just as heavily critiqued for the last two years of his career. The only real difference was his captaining criticisms and his playing criticisms happened at different times, where Cane was criticized for a few things in both areas for all of his last 4 years. This was also heavily influenced by another McCaw esque presence, in Ardie Savea, being in the team and pushed out of his original position. It could be said we essentially didn’t have the 3 prior years with Ardie as world player of the year because he was changing into this new role. I say “original” position as despite him never coming out and saying his desire is to perform his role from, that I know of, clearly as part of a partnership with Cane as 7, I don’t think this was because he really wanted Cane’s playing spot. I think it most likely that it comes down to poor All Black management that those sort of debates weren’t put to bed as being needless and irrelevant. It has been brought up many times in past few months of discussions on articles here at RP, that early calls in WC cycles, to say pigeonhole an All Black team into being required to have a physical dynamo on defence at 7 (and ballplyaer at 8 etc) are detrimental. In the end we did not even come up against a team that threw large bodies at us relentlessly, like why we encountered in the 2019 WC semi final, at all in this last WC. Even then they couldn’t see the real weakness was defending against dynamic attacks (which we didn’t want to/couldn’t give 2019 England credit for) like the Twickenham Boks, and Irish and French sides (even 10 minutes of an English onslaught) that plagued our record and aura the last 4 years. It really is a folly that is the All Blacks own creation, and I think it pure luck, and that Cane was also such a quality All Black, that he was also became an integral part of stopping the side from getting run off the park. Not just rampaged. > The hushed tones, the nods of approval, the continued promotion of this nonsense that these men are somehow supernatural beings. I bet this author was one of those criticizing Cane for coming out and speaking his mind in defence of his team that year. Despite the apparent hypocrisy I agree with the sentiment, but I can only see our last captain as going down the same road his two prior captains, Read and McCaw, have gone. I am really for Cane becoming an extra member to each squad this year, June, RC, and November tours, and he is really someone I can see being able to come back into the role after 3 seasons in Japan. As we saw last year, we would have killed for someone of his quality to have been available rather than calling on someone like Blackadder. Just like the Boks did for 2023.

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