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'We’re all die-hard football fans': England given 'massive' Euro 2024 boost

England Head Coach Steve Borthwick (R) and captain Jamie George (L) speak to media following the International Test Match between New Zealand All Blacks and England at Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 06, 2024 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Jamie George says England have been inspired by their footballing counterparts reaching the final of Euro 2024 as they target their own famous victory against New Zealand.


England’s squad gathered in the team room of their Auckland hotel to watch Gareth Southgate’s men dispatch the Netherlands 2-1 and set-up a showdown with Spain on Sunday evening.

The two camps have been in regular contact through their head coaches and George admitted the result “created a huge buzz” that his tourists are aiming to harness when they face the All Blacks on Saturday.

“We’re all die-hard football fans so the performance has given us a massive lift. You can see the impact it has on so many people,” George said.

“England are a very proud nation and we’re very proud of our sports teams. We want to make sure the England rugby team is part of that conversation.

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“There’s so much going on with the Euros and Wimbledon. The England cricket team are looking pretty good at the moment too.

“We want to make sure that we throw our hands up. Getting a win at Eden Park would certainly do that.”


Succeeding at Eden Park would also send shockwaves around the rugby world given it is 30 years since New Zealand lost at their Auckland fortress.

England are determined to finish the season on a high, especially after conceding a winnable first Test in Dunedin 16-15 despite entering the final quarter with a five-point lead.

“Coming to New Zealand is very, very difficult. We had a taste of that last weekend,” George said.

“At the same time I love playing at Eden Park because it’s hostile and the crowd are brilliant. We want to go out there and do something special.


“It would be one of the greatest achievements in English rugby being able to do that. I’m saying that because we’ve got a huge amount of respect for the All Blacks coming off the back of the weekend.

“Their record at Eden Park is amazing. We expect them to be more confrontational and more direct.

“We’re ready for that but at the same time you can’t go into Test match rugby with too much expectation because that’s often when you get caught out. We’ll be ready for everything.”

Head coach Steve Borthwick has made one enforced change by naming Fin Baxter at loosehead prop in place of Joe Marler, who has been ruled out by a foot injury.

Baxter replaced his Harlequins team-mate in the first Test for his international debut and the 22-year-old rookie made telling contributions, although he was part of an England scrum that was put under pressure.

“Fin takes everything in his stride. It was a really difficult situation that he found himself coming into,” George said.

“A few scrum calls had gone against us and that can be quite a daunting prospect, but he just got on with it, worked incredibly hard and put in a brilliant performance. He deserves his start and has got an exciting future.”


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Wonton 3 hours ago
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Nick 5 hours ago
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