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Rugby Union: What Jamie George offers to England

After making his international debut back in 2015, Jamie George has become the new England captain and will lead the team into a new era.

The Saracens star will take over the armband from Owen Farrell, who decided to take a break after the 2023 World Cup, and the focus will firmly be on George as England look to build on a better than expected showing in France.

What can we expect from the hooker and can he help England establish themselves as one of the top teams in world rugby?

Winning experience could be key

At the age of 33, George has pretty much experienced everything rugby union can throw at you and his CV is full of top honours.

With over 80 appearances for his country, he has played under three captains during his time as an England international – Chris Robshaw, Dylan Hartley and Farrell – and will be able to take something from their different styles.

Perhaps more importantly for coach Steve Borthwick, though, is his big game experience and how that may rub off on the rest of the squad.

The Saracens hooker has three Six Nations Championships to his name, whilst also being part of the squad that made the Rugby World Cup final back in 2019.  Meanwhile, at club level, George has lifted the European Rugby Champions Cup on three occasions and is a six-time winner of the Rugby Premiership title.

That winning mentality will almost certainly help the youngsters in the squad progress and England will hope that will also lead to more belief amongst the camp.

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Close relationship with England coach

Borthwick was understood to have been considering three or four different candidates as the new captain, with the likes of Maro Itoje and Ellis Genge mentioned as contenders.

One of the likely contributing factors for George’s selection is how well the coach knows him, having played together at club level.

Borthwick played at Saracens for six years, between 2008-2014, and five of those seasons will have been alongside the new England skipper.

So the boss has seen first-hand exactly what the hooker brings to the cause on the pitch and he clearly feels that is what is needed, as England look to build again.

Along with the Farrell announcement, the likes of Courtney Lawes, Jonny May and Ben Youngs retired from international rugby following the World Cup and Joe Marler is another who will hang up his boots at the end of the Premiership season.

Due to those departures, Borthwick will have wanted an experienced player to guide the new additions through over the coming months.

Will George make the 2027 World Cup?

At the time of writing, the decision to appoint George as the 135th England captain makes sense, but some will question if England should be thinking further ahead.

The hooker turns 34 in October 2024 and Red Rose supporters will wonder whether he will still be part of the national team squad when the next World Cup comes around – in Australia in 2027 – and whether England should be naming a skipper with one eye on that tournament.

It’s unclear whether ex-skipper Farrell will return to the fray but even he will be 36 when the squad head Down Under to try and lift the Webb Ellis Trophy for a second time - England are currently available at 8/1 in the Outright market behind the likes of 5/2 New Zealand, 3/1 South Africa and 5/1 France, amongst others. 

One of the possible candidates for the role down the line though is Theo Dan and under the guidance of George, he looks likely to become England’s first-choice hooker.

The 23-year-old is already under his guidance at Saracens and Dan looks like George’s long-term replacement in the pack at both club and international level.

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