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Jamie George: I’m gutted to miss South Africa revenge job – but I’ll be back


George has damaged his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and broken a bone in his leg, but the prognosis is positive and he expects to be out for only ten weeks.

George has had a rollercoaster year, helping Saracens win promotion from the Championship, being overlooked for the Lions Tests in South Africa and then dropped by England. An injury for Luke Cowan-Dickie earned him a reprieve, and he showed good form in the first two matches of the autumn.

“I’m obviously gutted,” he told Standard Sport. “I felt like I was getting back to close to my best, so timing wise it couldn’t have been worse.

“When I was named in the squad, [South Africa] was the game I was looking forward to the most. I didn’t get to play the games I wanted to on tour, and it is the first time we get a go at them since the World Cup final.

“But the main thing actually was just getting another opportunity to play at Twickenham. The atmosphere was absolutely ridiculous and I will never take for granted the impact of a crowd again.

“This year has been so up and down. A real challenge mentally more than anything. I don’t think I realised how much I’d be hit by everything that’s gone on, the relegation, playing in Championship, lockdown. I really struggled.

“I’m the sort of player that if I am in a good headspace I play good rugby.”

The Six Nations is a carrot I can work towards when things are tough in the coming weeks.

George appreciated Jones’ direct manner when he was initially left out of the Autumn Nations series squad.

“Eddie and I have a really good relationship,” he says. “He challenges me, that’s the way he works. I appreciated the honesty. He told me I hadn’t been good enough for a year or so and I needed to go away and find my best again. It made me look at what me at my best was; good headspace, having a smile on my face, good condition.

“I was so lucky to have Saracens, who made me feel so valued and helped etch out a play to get me back to my best.

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