England’s ‘Hurting’ pack aim to ‘get it right’ against South Africa

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Jamie George believes a showdown with South Africa provides the perfect opportunity for the England pack to rediscover their advantage after being bullied by New Zealand.

George revealed the red rose ‘hurts’ after being overworked in a 25-25 draw, especially in a passive first half in which the All Blacks built a 19-point lead .

South Africa complete the Autumn Nations Series at Twickenham on Saturday and George sees the clash with the world champions as the ideal stage for forwards looking to rumble once more.

“That’s been the talk all week,” George said. “It’s the perfect test for us as the top five after a poor performance against New Zealand.

“The way we scrambled and manhandled is not the English norm and we are fully aware of that.

“The players were really responsible for this and what better way to test themselves against one of the best packs in the world?

“We have a lot of respect for them, but we are suffering from our performance over the weekend and we want to make sure we get it right.”

England started the week with a period of soul-searching as they searched for an explanation for the dismal first half which was followed by a stunning fightback, sparing head coach Eddie Jones a more vigorous investigation. about what was wrong.

Rather than Jones or his coaching lieutenants orchestrating the response against South Africa, George revealed the players had taken control.

“A lot of things this week have been more player driven,” said the Saracens and Lions hooker. “Kyle Sinckler said he wanted to do more scrum setups and when you hear your head talking about it, it gives you huge confidence.

“It’s little things like that. Also, the way Maro Itoje took the lineout and the maul is impressive.

“It’s impressive of the coaches to allow them to grow in those roles as well because after a pretty poor performance sometimes the coaches try to pick up the slack and put their all into it.

“But they gave the players confidence and said, ‘Go and solve the problem’ and they responded to the need.”

George insists England remain comfortable with their decision to kick the ball in extra time rather than launch a final push in search of an unlikely victory.

They were criticized for their lack of ambition, but George said: “I was probably more, ‘Kick it out’.

“I know there’s a lot of criticism about it and I can understand that. On the pitch at the time, where we came from, it was amazing.

“We had a try down the length of the pitch at one point, but that doesn’t happen often against the All Blacks. When you do it once, they get smart.

“It’s always dangerous to play in your own half of the field. We would have been convinced we could break them, but the risk was probably too high at the time, so I think it was the right call.

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at