Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

By George, Jamie Becomes First Choice for Jones - and Is Desperate to Take His Chance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

By George, Jamie Becomes First Choice for Jones - and Is Desperate to Take His Chance

Article excerpt

JAMIE George understands the prize at stake after being elevated to the status of first-choice hooker for England's Cook Cup clash with Australia.

For the first time since Eddie Jones took charge three years ago, George starts against tier-one opposition instead of Dylan Hartley, who must settle for a place on the bench at Twickenham today despite being the team's co-captain.

Jones insists it is a tactical selection but George knows with the World Cup nine months away the hierarchy in his position may have been turned on its head, having served as Hartley's understudy since making his debut in 2015.

The Saracens' front row said: "I'm very aware it's a big opportunity for me but it doesn't make me nervous, I don't get anxious about it.

"I was buzzing when I heard. Really happy. Despite some line-out discrepancies against New Zealand, I feel like I'm playing well.

"I'm buzzing to get out there on Saturday, I can't wait.

"Of course it's a great opportunity so hopefully I'll take it."

Hartley started the opening two Quilter Internationals against South Africa and New Zealand before dropping to the bench for the visit of Japan.

On Saturday he will become England's most capped player at Twickenham, surpassing the mark of 55 appearances made by Jason Leonard - but must do so as part of the second-half cavalry. He added: "Dylan was one of the first to congratulate me. We work really well together, regardless of all the competition.

"We want each other to do well because ultimately that's going to benefit the team so we're always trying to put the team first no matter what. I have an opportunity this week and Dylan has been brilliant.

"I always want to start the game - naturally, you always do - but that is often taken out of my hands. I don't pick the team - if I did then I'd have 100 caps. …

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