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Saracens hooker Jamie George has praised the impact of clubmates Schalk Brits and John Smith is furthering his England claim this term
Updated 3:48pm Monday 19th May 2014 in Sport
With the ideal mentor at his side and the England hierarchy in his ear, Jamie George believes he is perfectly placed to maintain his rise to the top.
George had enjoyed a breakout year at Saracens, after kicking off the Aviva Premiership campaign with a two-try man of the match display against London Irish at the Twickenham Double Header.
With five starts combined over the previous three campaigns, the hooker featured in all but one of Saracens’ regular season games this season, wearing the No.2 shirt for ten of them.
South African Schalk Brits has backed the 23-year-old from an early age, while countryman John Smit ended a two-year stint at Sarries last summer.
And after an England Saxons call-up in January, Red Rose coach Andy Farrell has left the youngster in no doubt as to how close he is to the highest level.
“I have had a brief chat with Andy Farrell, just saying some of the stuff that he would like to see,” confessed George.
“Obviously I will take that on board and listen as much as I can to that and just try to bring those things into my game.
“All I can focus on is playing well and as a club the next few weeks are massive for us. That’s sort of the only thing I can focus on and the rest of out of my control.
“It would be amazing to be included in any of the squads but that isn’t up to me, is it?”
Brits especially has been a major influence on the former England U20 hooker since he joined the North London club as a teenager.
The 33-year-old, who now shares the shirt with George, has done much more for his protégé than offer tips on the training ground.
George added: “I have been very fortunate in having Schalk over the last four or five years and John Smit was with us for a couple of seasons as well, so I can’t really complain about having two mentors like that. It has been pretty cool.
“He (Brits) is genuinely the most generous man I know, with his time and with his knowledge as well.
“He is a very special bloke and the amount of time that he has given up for me in teaching me, I will be forever grateful.
“It’s not just stuff about rugby but stuff in life as well – he has been as much of a life coach as a rugby mentor.”
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