Saracens trio determined to get England back to winning ways

England's Jamie George during the captain's run at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Friday

England's Jamie George during the captain's run at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Friday February 5, 2021. - Credit: PA

Saracens trio Jamie George, Maro Itoge and Owen Farrell are determined to get England back to winning ways this weekend.

The match against Italy at Twickenham on Saturday follows their demoralising Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland.

Sarries right winger Sean Maitland helped Scotland end a dull 38-year winless spell at RFU headquarters thanks to Finn Russell and claimed the iconic Calcutta Cup with an equally well-fought and well-deserved 11-6 victory.

Elliott Daly, Billy Vunipola and Bristol Bears loanee Max Malins were the other Sarries players appeared for England last Saturday.

It was the second successive year that Eddie Jones’s Red Rose troops suffered opening weekend defeat, following a loss last year against France (where they then went on to clinch the Six Nations mantle).


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Captain Farrell, who scored two penalties, praised the Scots for their triumph but admits his side could not get a real grip in the game.

"Massive credit to Scotland first and foremost," said the fly-half.

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"The way they played kept us out of the game, they got a good start and a fair bit of momentum off the back of a few penalties from us. They got the try and they kept us out from there on.

"We didn't get a proper foothold in the game. The whole game is joined up, we can talk about the attack or defence, but it's all joined up so we're going to have to look at the game as a whole and see how we can get some momentum back quicker than we did today."

However a gutted George gave a brutal assessment of England's below-par performance but he believes they can pick themselves up following last Saturday's Calcutta Cup shocker.

“We’ve got to have a good look at ourselves," he admits. "When you play for England you need to make sure that there’s certain standards that you hold yourself to and we didn’t do that.

“The main message is let’s look forward and do as much as we possibly can for the rest of the tournament to be a better team because we’re going to have to be off the back of that performance.

"We’re hugely proud of our record at Twickenham and I can’t tell you how gutted we are as a team.

“What it will do is it’ll bring us closer together and we’ll make sure that there’ll be a hunger and a desire to get better and finish the rest of this tournament in a much better position than we’ve put ourselves in now.”

File photo dated 06-12-2020 of England's Maro Itoje during the Autumn Nations Cup match at Twickenha

File photo dated 06-12-2020 of England's Maro Itoje during the Autumn Nations Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Issue date: Sunday February 7, 2021. - Credit: PA

And Itoje has called  on his team-mates to roll up their sleeves and get back to basics.

“The situation is the situation, there isn’t really too much we can do about it at this stage," he admits. "We just have to concentrate and move forward. We weren’t good enough.

“It’s one of those situations where, as players, we need to roll up our sleeves and get back to work. The team, the core of the team, has been together for a few years now."

Nick Tompkins, who is on temporary loan with Newport-based  Pro14 side Dragons helped Wales to a winning start to their Six Nations campaign after overcoming 14-man Ireland 21-16 at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

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