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.

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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

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.”

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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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