Rugby is on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak but that won’t stop England hooker Jamie George taking on a weightlifting challenge this Saturday in memory of the father of one of his best friends. Barnes Rugby Club are collectively looking to lift one million kilograms ‘from ground level to above head height’ in one day in aid of the NHS following the death of club stalwart Garry Garrett, who lost his life due to the virus. 


And Saracens front row George is looking to play his part, setting the target of lifting a weight equivalent to two Ford Focus cars above his head. “I’m aiming to lift 3,000kgs in an hour,” said George in an interview with the Daily Mirror. “I don’t know if it’s actually doable but I’ll give it a crack.”

The challenge has promoted a series of video messages from a variety of England stars, the likes of Billy Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Marler, Ellis Genge, George Ford, Elliot Daly, Jonny Wilkinson, Danny Care and Chris Robshaw each offering a message of support to Barnes RFC ahead of the bank holiday weekend event. 

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Jim Hamilton takes a tour of Jamie George’s house in episode two of Rugby Pads

“You could say it’s gone downhill a little bit,” said George, reflecting on recent events in his career where England’s World Cup final loss was followed by Saracens’ automatic relegation from the Gallagher Premiership due to salary cap breaches. Now the sport is indefinitely suspended due to the virus outbreak that has prompted across the board wage cuts. 

“It’s been a calamity. We’ve been hit with so many different things. But what happened to Garry puts a perspective on everything. One minute I’m complaining about being stuck inside, the next my friend Jack’s father has passed away. He was an amazing man, one of those rugby purists who just wanted to talk to me about scrums! He loved the game and gave so much to it. It’s nice to see the rugby community come together to remember one of its own.”


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