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Rugby | International Rugby

George wants England to learn Lions' lessons against NZ



Jamie George believes England players' experience during the British and Irish Lions' drawn series in New Zealand will stand them in good stead against the All Blacks at Twickenham.

Saturday's match is the first time England have faced reigning world champions New Zealand in four years.

England have won just seven matches against the All Blacks since they first met in 1905, but George has taken heart from the way the Lions drew a three-test series 1-1 last year.

Five of Eddie Jones' starting XV have experienced victory over New Zealand, the most recent win coming on a Lions tour which saw the combined side win the second test in Wellington.

"That day is probably the best feeling of my rugby career so far and hopefully we can repeat that," said George, the Lions' first-choice hooker throughout the series.

"Half of us have beaten the All Blacks before and we've drawn on those experiences this week."

The Saracens front row, a replacement in the England set-up behind New Zealand-born co-captain Dylan Hartley, added: "We've spoken about what we need to do to beat them and what worked previously."

Saturday's match will provide England with a useful yardstick ahead of next year's World Cup in Japan, with George warning: "If you're slightly off against the All Blacks they'll take advantage...We have to put our stamp on the game.

"When I've played in teams that did that previously, we've been successful."

England head into this weekend's clash with wing Chris Ashton, one of the most prolific try-scorers in the game, back in their starting side for the first time in four years.

Attack coach Scott Wisemantel urged Jones to bring Ashton back into the fold after seeing him set a new Top 14 try-scoring record for French giants Toulon.

By the end of the season, former Saracens star Ashton had returned to England by signing for Sale, paving the way for a test recall.

"Chris was on fire during his season in France, Wisemantel, an assistant coach at Top 14 side Montpellier before joining England's staff.

"The thing that impressed me most is that in that French league you can have very, very good players who when they get there deteriorate because they get lazy," he added.

"But as the season progressed, he not only maintained speed but also got faster.

"I said to Eddie have you have seen Ashton play? He's on fire! And Eddie goes 'yeah mate'."



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