Saracens hooker reflects on ‘manic, crazy’ week after replacing Hartley in England squad

Saracens' Jamie George breaks away to score the Hendon club's second try during the Aviva Premiershi

Saracens' Jamie George breaks away to score the Hendon club's second try during the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Jamie George admits he has endured a “pretty manic, pretty crazy” fortnight after replacing Dylan Hartley in England’s World Cup training squad, having initially missed the cut.

George was left out of the initial group but was then on the receiving end of a head-butt from Northampton hooker Hartley in the Premiership semi-final.

That resulted in a four-week ban for Hartley, which will come into effect at the start of next season and extend into the World Cup, ruling him out of England’s opening group game against Fiji.

Red-rose head coach Stuart Lancaster has consequently replaced Hartley, who has made 66 international appearances, with the uncapped George, who scored in the Premiership semi-final victory over the Saints and repeated the feat when Saracens beat Bath in Saturday’s final.

“It has been pretty manic, pretty crazy,” said George. “Graham Rowntree [England forwards coach] rang me before the squad was going to be announced and just said it was a close call but I wasn’t going to be involved.


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“It was very disappointing but at the same time I understood the reasons behind it.

“Mark McCall [Saracens’ rugby director] then rang me after the semi-final and just said it was going to be announced that I was going to be in the squad and how proud he was of me. That was probably one of the best phone calls I have ever received.

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“To win a trophy and then go into camp obviously gives you a spring in your step.

“Hopefully, I have gained respect of some of the guys there already, and if I haven’t then that is my aim during the first couple of weeks I am in camp.”

George added: “You have to feel for him [Hartley]. I have no hard feelings towards him. It was in the heat of the moment and it was something I am sure he will regret.But it has given me this opportunity and I am going to try and take it as well as I can.”

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