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Saracens boss hails hooker George

PUBLISHED: 18:10 08 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:10 08 October 2017

Saracens Jamie George celebrates after scoring his side's second try against Wasps (pic David Davies/PA)

Saracens Jamie George celebrates after scoring his side's second try against Wasps (pic David Davies/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall looked ahead to Jamie George’s duel with Dylan Hartley next Sunday after seeing the England hooker claim a hat-trick of tries in a 38-19 victory over Wasps.

Saracens Liam Williams is tackled by Wasps Thomas Young (pic David Davies/PA)Saracens Liam Williams is tackled by Wasps Thomas Young (pic David Davies/PA)

The bonus-point win has seen the European champions replace Exeter at the summit of the Aviva Premiership table heading into the opening round of the Champions Cup.

George, a Test British and Irish Lion during the summer, will lock horns with England captain Hartley in a Pool Two clash at Franklin’s Gardens that will see the rivals compete to impress Eddie Jones ahead of next month’s autumn series.

“Jamie did well in the tight, but he was also good around the park by making lots of little half breaks. He showed a lot of attacking ability during the game and I’m really pleased to see him play so well,” McCall said.

“Playing well here was going to be important for him and playing well in the next couple of weeks is going to be important for him as well to get himself into Eddie Jones’ mind.

Saracens Brad Barritt (right) tackles Wasps Joe Simpson during the Aviva Premiership match at Allianz Park (pic David Davies/PA)Saracens Brad Barritt (right) tackles Wasps Joe Simpson during the Aviva Premiership match at Allianz Park (pic David Davies/PA)

“We’re going up to Northampton on Sunday and Dylan Hartley will be starting, so it will be an important game for Jamie.”

Owen Farrell was withdrawn from the bench shortly before kick-off due to a minor calf injury, but McCall revealed he will be available for the start of the Saracens’ European title defence against Northampton.

“Owen had a little awareness in his calf all week. It seemed a little bit better towards the end of the week and we let him warm up for this game, but given what’s ahead of us it seemed foolish to risk him against Wasps,” McCall said.

“The important thing is that he’ll be fine for next week. It was just a precaution and the scan showed it was only a very, very minor calf strain.”

Saracens Richard Wigglesworth is tackled by Wasps Nick Isiekwe during the Aviva Premiership match at Allianz Park (pic David Davies/PA)Saracens Richard Wigglesworth is tackled by Wasps Nick Isiekwe during the Aviva Premiership match at Allianz Park (pic David Davies/PA)

McCall described Wasps’ five-day turnaround between their trips to Allianz Park and Ulster as “grossly unfair”, and it was a theme taken up by the injury-ravaged Coventry club’s director of rugby Dai Young.

“When your luck’s down, everyone keeps running over to kick you in the nuts,” Young said.

“If it was any less of a turnaround, we’d have to go straight to Ulster from here. It’s not ideal, but we have to get on with it.

“Whoever puts the jersey on has to do the job. We’re missing 15 players to injury, but we just have to deal with it and not use it as an excuse. We have to get the best out of what we’ve got but we’re not doing that.”

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