Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elvis-Mad Chuter Bids to Leave Kiwis All Shook Up

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elvis-Mad Chuter Bids to Leave Kiwis All Shook Up

Article excerpt


THE excitement George Chuter felt as he walked through the grounds of Elvis Presley's Graceland home will be eclipsed on Sunday when he runs out at Twickenham to face the mighty All Blacks wearing the England No2 jersey.

This is the Leicester hooker's third cap, but his two other appearances were on England's summer tour to Australia making this Twickenham debut special.

For Elvis-mad Chuter the match cannot come soon enough and he is relishing the chance of facing the best rugby team in the world surrounded by four Tigers team-mates in a heavyweight pack.

Chuter found himself at Graceland during a yearlong trek around the world which also included experiencing the 2001 Olympics in Sydney as he sought a complete break from rugby.

He had stunned team-mates at Saracens by announcing he was quitting rugby in 2000 after finding the advent of professionalism less than appetising.

Francois Pienaar, then the Sarries captain, tried to talk Chuter into staying and insisted the door would always be open if he rediscovered a love for the sport.

Chuter said: "The highlight of my year away was, without doubt, Graceland.

I had a great time in Sydney, which is a fantastic city at any time of the year but particularly special with all those millions of people congregating for the Olympic Games. However, I have been an Elvis fan all my life and to visit Graceland was just awesome."

At the end of that 12-month journey, Chuter returned to London but Pienaar could not convince the Greenwich-born forward to rejoin Saracens. Instead, Chuter opted to try to fulfil his rugby ambitions at Leicester, despite the presence of England hookers Richard Cockerill and Dorian West in their squad.

It appeared a hopeless mission given the quality of his rivals but Chuter refused to accept the tag of also-ran and set out to learn from Cockerill and West and take his chance went it arrived.

Now, as he prepares to face the ultimate rugby test, Chuter is able to reflect on the decisions that have shaped his life on and off the pitch and he is proud to have remained true to his beliefs. …

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