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Why 'world's best nause' Maro Itoje has unfollowed Jim Hamilton

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Ex-Scotland lock Jim Hamilton has revealed that Maro Itoje, the England and Lions second row who was a teammate of his at Saracens, has unfollowed him on social media after he waded into the debate about Eddie Jones’ captaincy remarks about the 27-year-old. England coach Jones claimed in his newly published book that Itoje wasn’t captaincy material and had been sent for acting lessons. 

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Hamilton spent three seasons at Saracens before retiring after the 2017 European title win but it appears that Itoje has taken issue with what his fellow second row had to say on last week’s episode of The Rugby Pod about Jones’ Itoje captaincy remarks.

It was on this week’s episode, during a review of the feisty Exeter versus Saracens Gallagher Premiership match last Saturday, that Hamilton admitted how Itoje had negatively reacted to the previous week’s Rugby Pod. Co-host Andy Goode was the prompt for Itoje to be mentioned in the game review. 

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“Maro Itoje, the world’s best nause around the park and that is a compliment,” said Goode. “Everything that he does infuriates the opposition. It is very Johnnoesque (Martin Johnson-like), what he used to do to teams back in the day. Maro Itoje has taken that to another level. Charge downs, smashing rucks, annihilating mauls.”

This was the nudge for Hamilton to reply: “After last week’s comments he [Itoje] has unfollowed me on social. Can you believe that? Can you believe what these lads are like?” Goode teased: “Jim, I thought you were tight, I thought you were good mates?” Hamilton added: “Clearly not, you can’t give your opinion about anyone these days.”

Hamilton was later asked by show presenter Andy Rowe what he thought about another old Saracens teammate, Billy Vunipola, and the sight of the No8 getting his team marched backwards 20 metres by referee Luke Pearce for two incidents of saying something he shouldn’t have said. “Jim, I don’t want you to lose another teammate off social media,” said Rowe, “but what was your reaction to Billy’s backchat situation?”

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“Completely fair enough,” replied Hamilton. “I don’t think there are any questions around it. Billy and Mako have got history in terms of wearing their emotions… it is creeping into the game. I could see the Billy one unfolding. When Exeter scored their try and it subsequently went back for a forward pass, Billy was speaking to Luke Pearce then and I was thinking to myself, ‘You need to be careful, Billy’. 

“They have apologised after the game. Mark McCall called them out, rightly so. He didn’t name them but it was obvious after the game because it cost Saracens. It cost them a try and also the discipline around the narrative of Saracens will come into question now… we don’t want to see it and it [backchat] is coming into question over the last couple of years. So Luke Pearce, fair play. He is a top-level ref, well respected, he makes more right than wrong decisions.”

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