‘We are sorry’ – George apologises to supporters following record loss

Jamie George [right] has won 76 caps for England
©INPHO/James Crombie

England hooker Jamie George has apologised to fans as they left early as the home side crashed to a record defeat at the hands of France in the Guinness Six Nations.

Speaking following the defeat, the 76-cap hooker was not aware that hundreds began to make their way home early as Fabien Galthie’s team registered seven tries at the home of English rugby.

It is a continuation of poor form for England, who after two Six Nations wins under Steve Borthwick were well and truly humbled by France.

“I want to apologise, because I am one of them really,” George said. “I would be gutted if I turned up at Twickenham and seen an England team play like that.

“We are sorry, and we need to make sure that we get better and learn from this experience, because it’s clear we have a long way to go.”

In essence, there was nothing remotely redeemable about England’s display on Saturday evening. The set-piece did not function, they were disjointed and totally without inspiration. 

It is little wonder that supporters made their feelings known at the full-time whistle or began their journey home ahead of schedule.

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This continues a poor run of form for England in both the Six Nations and at Twickenham Stadium. Beaten soundly there by Argentina and South Africa in the autumn, it has hardly been a happy hunting ground in the Six Nations either.

Ultimately it adds to the immense discontent that England supporters have. While Borthwick may well speak in flowery words about wanting to hear the “Twickenham roar”, there is very little to shout about for fans who pay through the nose to be present.

“It’s tough to take that, because I can relate to that,” George said. “I’m a fan myself and to hear that is really tough.

“We haven’t been good enough for the England fans for a little while now and I can relate to what they’re feeling, but what I’d like to say to them is please stick with us because we’re going to fight and we’re going to scrap to make sure we’re a significantly better team going forward. Hopefully we don’t disappoint them like that again.”

Quite what England need at this point in time is uncertain. They are playing a stripped-back game plan, but still faltering at the basics and inviting heaps of pressure onto themselves.

France quite rightly proved why they are the second best team in the world. Dominant physically and with a game plan which their opponents struggled to wrap their heads around.

There is even an element of confusion around why England are not measuring up at Test level. With so many top-class players, for the side to be struggling as they are, it is certainly a point of concern and one which George relates to.

“We are here to win and make the Twickenham crowd roar,” he said bullishly. “That’s what we want. We have huge confidence in the people in the room and the characters in the room I think are excellent. That’s something we need to focus on.

“It’s very, very frustrating, but I know the hard work is going on behind the scenes and I know that we’re not happy with where we are.

“We are disappointed with the way the results are going and the focus for us has to be putting smiles back on faces and getting Twickenham bouncing again. Hopefully we can do that from Dublin next week.”

Ireland remain at the top of the Six Nations table after their 7-22 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon, Andy Farrell’s side digging deep as injuries continue to plague the team.

World Rugby’s number one ranked Test side, the visit to Ireland will be striking fear into many an England supporters heart following their most recent efforts.

Set to have their backs against the wall from the off, there is much for England to improve upon and George for one is hopeful that the pressure will push he and his teammates to perform better.

“For me, there’s no better place to go after a performance like that,” George said. “Everyone will write us off already and what we’ve got to do is make sure we have the best week of this eight week campaign, in terms of how quickly we’re going to learn and getting a plan together to really put Ireland under pressure and come away with a win.”