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'You look at the blueprint of how they did it' - England looking to Ireland success for NZ tour

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Thursday Jun 6, 2024

England captain Jamie George spoke to Sky Sports today to preview his team’s upcoming tour of Japan and New Zealand.

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Discussing the training head coach Steve Borthwick and his staff have been putting England through, George said, “I wouldn’t quite say it’s been taking it easy! We’ve hit the ground running. Let’s put it that way, it’s been a tough few days.

“Obviously, the guys were in last week as well. We heard some whispers that there was some pretty tough work going on, so they certainly weren’t lying.”

With temperatures routinely hitting 30C + in Tokyo, England have taken a unique approach to training for the challenging conditions they will face.

“We know how hot it’s going to be over there in Japan. It’s very hot and very humid. We’ve experienced it before. So they’ve got some heaters going on in the indoor centre, and yeah, it’s tough work. A few tough watt-bike sessions for the forwards, but funnily enough, the backs aren’t doing too much.”

“I think it’s great, I think it sets the tone nicely.

“Obviously, end-of-season tours generally sometimes think people can sort of take your foot off the gas a little bit. We really want to go out there and get three wins out of three.

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“So in order to do that, we know we’ve got to work really, really hard, and we’re a team that bases ourselves around how hard we work and how tough we’ve got to be. So I think that sets some good foundations for that, Japan, June 22nd.”

When asked about whether getting one over former coach Eddie Jones had been discussed in camp, George was quick to downplay that narrative instead he praised his former coach.

I think everyone’s got their own individual motivations.

“I think, ultimately, though, English rugby, anyone who’s been involved in English rugby has a huge amount of respect for Eddie and everything that he achieved with us.

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“He’s got some good ideas, I’m sure, about how to beat us, but at the same time, we’ve got a good idea around how Japan want to play.”

Showing significant improvement as the 2024 Guinness Six Nations progressed, George said his team wanted to develop their game further this summer whilst staying true to their strengths.

“We want to go out there and express ourselves. I think we want to play to our strengths. I think you know English rugby has to be based around a strong defence, with Felix Jones coming in. I think we saw massive improvements throughout the Six Nations. But at the same time, when we get the opportunity with the ball, we’ve got to use it. We’ve got exciting young backs. We’ve got a few elderly people up front to shore down the ship. But you know we’ve got some really exciting players, and you know we’d be stupid not to try and utilise that, and that’s definitely the plan and New Zealand.”

Focusing on the success their key rivals Ireland enjoyed in New Zealand back in 2022 when they comprehensively downed the All Blacks in their own back yard, George said his side have spotted areas that Ireland exposed in the All Blacks game as a blueprint to work from.

“I think you look at Ireland going over there. Was it last year or the year before? And it really sort of set the foundations for them going forward to become the number one team in the world. And you look at the blueprint of how they did it. They went over there and took New Zealand on and that record (England’s in New Zealand) isn’t great since 2003.

“Obviously, we’ve played them a few times at World Cups and beaten them at Twickenham and that kind of thing. So you know we want to go over there and win.

“We’re very clear about how we want to do that, but we also know how big a challenge it’s going to be because they’re the All Blacks at home and, having been over there on a tour myself, we know how passionate the Kiwi fans are also.”

England will face Japan on June 22nd before taking on the All Blacks in a two-test series on July 6th and 13th.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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