Jamie George hoping to carry forward the intensity from Lions tour

Jamie George has taken confidence from his performances for the Lions
Jamie George has taken confidence from his performances for the Lions

Saracens hooker Jamie George wants to build on the intensity that he obtained from his stint with the British and Irish Lions in the recently concluded tour of New Zealand.

The 26-year-old started for the Lions in all the three Tests against the All Blacks despite being on the bench as a cover to Dylan Hartley in all the 17 Tests he featured for England.

Hartley is once again expected to lead the red rose team in the autumn internationals clashes against Argentina, Australia and Samoa with George once again likely to be among the replacements despite his elevated status with the Lions.

The former England U20 is fresh from a hat-trick of tries that he scored against Wasps to help Saracens win 38-19 in the recently concluded Aviva Premiership encounter and will now lock horns with his England skipper Hartley on Sunday in the European Champions Cup clash against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens.

"The second Lions Test in particular was one I was proud of. That's where I set the standard. The bar is set there. All my performances are based off that," George said.

"I was most pleased about my physicality and intensity in that game. I now realise where I need to be. That's the benchmark. I want to keep striving to get beyond that.

"I'm fully aware where I need to be emotionally and physically on Sunday in order to be at my best.

"You don't pick and choose when you perform. The way I approach it shouldn't be any different whether it's a Lions Test or an A League game. I've learned that my preparation is so important in terms of my success.

"The week building up to that second Test was the best week that I had. I've put a big focus on this season doing a lot of extras."

Hartley's captaincy makes him indispensable to England and George is well prepared to wait for his chances and is hoping to maintain the intensity in whatever opportunity he gets.

"The messages from the England coaches are that I have to improve in certain areas. The consistency of my performances needs to remain high," George said.

"I can't have periods of games where I'm in and out. I have to make sure my involvements in games are really high and that I keep playing with intensity.

"I've never wanted to be second choice, but it's the way that it has fallen. But I've learned the value of patience."

A speaker at one of Saracens' recent team meetings was a magician named 'Pete The Heat' and George insists parallels can be drawn between rugby and the performance of tricks on stage.

"It was funny and very interesting - he wasn't just performing magic tricks, he was saying what his mindset is with the trick," George said.

"We found a common ground that heightened our awareness about what we need to do on a rugby field. He said the trick happens before the big reveal.

"What we took from that is working off the ball. So people see the tries, but it's about what we do before that.....so kick chase and working hard to get off the floor."

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