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British & Irish Lions Tour: Jamie George Saracens hooker talks isolation, England, team-mates

How’s isolation working out for you?

Isolation’s all right actually. Weirdly I am quite enjoying the lockdown. I managed to get a very makeshift gym installed into my garage. If I hadn’t done that, I could have put on 20kg during this lockdown! I am trying to turn it the other way. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

British & Irish Lions Tour: Jamie George Saracens hooker talks isolation, England, team-mates
British & Irish Lions Tour: Jamie George Saracens hooker talks isolation, England, team-mates

You have got a dog as well to take out, haven’t you?

It is nice to be able to use your hour of exercise to take him out. He is a Hungarian Vizla called Otamendi. No, I am not a Man City fan. If I was going to call him after a footballer, I would call him Grealish. I was quite keen to call him Wesley, after Aston Villa’s new striker, but my partner Kate wasn’t so keen, so he is Otto, full name Otamendi. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

It is going to be tough. I will be 32 by the time of the next World Cup, but a lot of players are still playing international rugby late into their 30s and my position at hooker it is a bit generous to older players so hopefully, I can cling on in there. I have good grip strength! Anything on top of my career so far, I have been very lucky, would be great, to be honest.

British & Irish Lions Tour: Jamie George Saracens hooker talks isolation, England, team-mates
British & Irish Lions Tour: Jamie George Saracens hooker talks isolation, England, team-mates

Who has been an important team-mate in your career?

Schalk Brits joined Saracens the year I went full time and then John Smit arrived and was here for two years. They were two very different hookers in terms of style of play; John was probably the best scrummaging hooker who I have played with or against and was very good leader, while Schalk was a freak with some of his abilities in the loose. I tried to pick off little bits of both their games.

What about on the coaching side?

I played with Steve Borthwick for four or five years as a kid when he was a captain, but his impact on my outlook on my game as a coach, initially at Saracens and then with England, has been huge. International rugby can be tough, but his little conversations have been key in keeping my spirits high.

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British & Irish Lions 2021 visit a departure from traditional tours

The British & Irish Lions in South Africa in 2021 are going to be a departure from how traditional tours operate, making it another first for 2 of the game’s greatest rivals. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

British & Irish Lions 2021 visit a departure from traditional tours
British & Irish Lions 2021 visit a departure from traditional tours

The Lions in South Africa is synonymous with firsts: The first-ever international Test series in rugby was the Lions against the Springboks in 1891. The Lions’ nickname was coined in South Africa in the 1924 visit. The first-ever drawn Test series was between the Lions and the Springboks in 1955, and the first-ever Lions team to go unbeaten on tour was in South Africa in 1974.

The first Lions professional tour was against the Springboks in 1997 and little separates the 2 teams in 46 Tests, with the Springboks winning 23, the Lions 17 and the remaining six matches drawn.

South African Rugby Union

The South African Rugby Union, through a Special Purpose Vehicle, registered because the South African Rugby Event Service (SARES), and therefore the British & Irish Lions (BIL), agreed on a partnership designed to form the 2021 Lions in South Africa the best spectator and supporter experience within the history of the Lions and also commercially the foremost successful for the South African Rugby Union and the Lions.

‘The 2023 Rugby World Cup bid outcome was a massive disappointment for us, as a nation and as one of the powerhouses of rugby,’ said South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

‘It was also a huge commercial blow. We had to regroup and make sure that British & Irish Lions in South Africa in 2021 spoke to everything we might have wanted to realize with the hosting of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.’

British & Irish Lions 2021 visit a departure from traditional tours
British & Irish Lions 2021 visit a departure from traditional tours

The South African Rugby Union subsequently invested in the expertise of the best sporting commercial brokers and some of the most experienced and astute minds in rugby. What followed was a billboard model that spoke to each international global professional sporting trend.

A joint venture with the Lions was agreed, with the Lions head coach Warren Gatland as much a part of the eight-event schedule structure, as the South African Rugby Union.

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British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland plumps for warm-up match against Barbarians before South Africa tour

The Lions are poised to finalize plans on Thursday for a fixture against the Barbarians at Twickenham, before their tour of South Africa next summer. Rugby fans can book British And Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

A meeting in London is about to ratify arrangements for Warren Gatland’s British and Irish side to face the famous invitational club.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland plumps for warm-up match against Barbarians before South Africa tour
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland plumps for warm-up match against Barbarians before South Africa tour

Recent reports had indicated that Japan was potential opponents and Sports mail understands that certain members of the Lions hierarchy were keen to pursue this feature.

However, sources have indicated that Gatland sees a game against the free-running Barbarians as a far better thanks to launching preparations for a three-Test series against the Springboks.

Kivi Coach

The Kiwi former head coach of Wales, who guided the Lions to a 2-1 victory over Australia in 2013 and a 1-1 draw with the All Blacks in 2017, has been frustrated by the shortage of co-operation from Premiership Rugby, who have refused to stage their final every week earlier in 2021.

England’s national stadium is going to be the venue for the Premiership Final on June 26 next year – every week before the Lions face the Stormers in Cape Town. Rugby fans can book British And Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

It emerged earlier this month that the Scottish Rugby Union was pushing for Murray field to host the encounter, while Cardiff’s Principality Stadium had been identified as a choice.

In 1977, the Lions took on the Barbarians at Twickenham to mark the Queen’s jubilee and faced the international club again in Hong Kong in 2013 before arriving in Australia.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland plumps for warm-up match against Barbarians before South Africa tour
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland plumps for warm-up match against Barbarians before South Africa tour

Home matches are rare for British and Irish touring team, although Sir Clive Woodward’s Lions drew with Argentina in Cardiff before their ill-fated crusade to New Zealand in 2005.

Meanwhile, Ireland prop Cian Healy will miss the rest of the Iroquois League with the hip problem he sustained in Saturday’s 24-12 defeat by England. Healy was forced off within the half with an injury described as a jarred hip following a scan.

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