December 6 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has backed Jamie George to become one of the best in the business after the hooker repaid the faith shown in him this summer with a brace of tries in yesterday’s 42-20 opening Premiership victory over London Irish.
South African World Cup-winning skipper John Smit retired at the climax of last campaign but the Allianz Park side did not go looking for another No2, believing the England Under-20 international was ready for the role.
George scored twice in the opening half of yesterday’s London Double Header at Twickenham but also performed well under the new scrum laws as he was named man of the match.
Afterwards McCall paid the front rower the ultimate accolade by insisting his afternoon’s work showed that he can compete alongside the other Springbok legend in his position at the club.
“Schalk Brits wasn’t playing and you didn’t notice that he wasn’t, not only did Jamie score two tries he was great all over the pitch,” McCall said.
“He threw well, he was good in the scrum, he was good all around the park and I think he’ll go to the top fairly quickly now.”
The Northern Irishman added: “Jamie has served a long apprenticeship.
“He’s spent four years already at the club and has stayed unbelievably patient, sitting behind Schalk Brits and John Smit. When John left in the summer we didn’t try and sign anybody else as we knew Jamie was ready. He’s been patient and he’ll be rewarded for it.”
George, however, refused to take credit for his double, saying: “The tries were nothing to do with me - Richard Wigglesworth deserves those two.
“He put me into two gaps and I didn’t have to do much more. It’s great to be part of this team and I really enjoyed playing out there.”
It was the second season in a row that Sarries started their campaign by reaching the 40-point mark against the Exiles at Rugby HQ, with Chris Ashton’s last-gasp score handing the north Londoners maximum rewards.
“It was a very good performance,” the hooker said. “We’ve been working hard all pre-season on our attacking shape.
“We came here with a plan and we managed to do it. The team performance was the main thing and we’re really pleased about this. Obviously there are a few things to work on but it’s the first game and all-in-all we’re happy.”