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The message Jamie George has for Will Skelton and Australia

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images)

England hooker Jamie George has sent a message to Will Skelton and his devastated Wallabies who are facing Rugby World Cup pool stage elimination for the first time in Australia’s history. The Aussies were taken over in January by ex-England boss Eddie Jones but it hasn’t been a successful alliance as defeats to Fiji and Wales have them poised to miss out on quarter-final qualification.

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They finished up their pool campaign with a win on Sunday over a Portuguese side that they even trailed for seven first-half minutes, and they now must wait it out in Saint-Etienne until the result of next Sunday’s Fiji versus Portugal match is known.

Australia are currently second in Pool C but a losing bonus point for the Fijians would be enough for them to clinch a quarter-final versus England in Marseille on October 15.

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In the meantime, the Wallabies have come under an avalanche of fierce criticism, something that England regular George endured in 2015 when they were eliminated at the pool stage in a tournament they were hosting.

“I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” said George of the criticism that comes with an early World Cup exit. “Having been there in 2015 it’s a really tough position to be in. I know the impact it can have on your own mental health, but also your family and the people back home, the negative cycle that can come around with that, and we saw that.

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“A good friend of mine Will Skelton is captain of that team and this World Cup hasn’t gone the way that he has wanted and my heart goes out to him because he is a really good guy and I want the best for him, so I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and I am sure they will learn a huge amount from this experience.”

Having arrived at the World Cup with just one win in six matches, England were tipped to also struggle at France 2023. Instead, they won their three September games and were confirmed as Pool D winners with a match to spare.

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“One thing that has impressed me about this team is we have taken each week as it comes,” enthused George about the wins over Argentina, Japan and Chile before this Saturday’s pool finale against Samoa in Lille.

“If you look at the tournament as a whole, pre-Argentina there were a lot of doubts about this team and we really just focused on ourselves, knowing our position inside out but then trying to make the most out of becoming the best team we possibly can.

“That’s been our focus and that is what we did in 2019 (when England reached the final). It’s going to be the same again this time. Everything is going to be about putting on the best performance we possibly can against Samoa and then whatever comes after that we are going to make the most of that week too.

“We’re hugely optimistic as a team. We know we have got a lot of hard work ahead of us. At the same time, we want to make sure we bring the England fans on a journey with us and we have said that from the start.

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“We love that we have been able to put some smiles on faces over the last few weeks and hopefully we can continue to do that and in a few weeks’ time there could be some big smiles.”

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Comments

1 Comment
P
Paul 294 days ago

That is what Raggas is all about.
We are Competitors, Not Enemies.
What a gentleman to translate his feelings into words.
Always liked Jamie as a typical hooker, BUT with something special.
Maybe(on of) my favourite English player...
Go Boks!!!!!!

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Wonton 5 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 6 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

17 Go to comments
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