George Kruis could be poised to make his final appearance at Twickenham as Jamie George reflects on the “competition winner” who has extracted every ounce from his career.
Kruis is weighing up a lucrative offer to play in Japan’s Top League, knowing that if he departed overseas he would no longer be considered for England selection under Rugby Football Union rules.
If, as expected, he leaves Saracens at the end of the season then the Guinness Six Nations showdown with Wales on Saturday week might become his last outing at Twickenham.
George recalls the arrival of his long-term club and Lions team-mate at Allianz Park over a decade ago.
“I’ve known George for over 10 years. He’s incredibly impressive,” the England hooker said.
“He’s squeezed the most out of his career as he possibly could because of the amount of work he’s put in.
“I remember him joining Saracens as an 18-year-old – he’d have to drive from Dorking every morning, getting up at 5am, not get paid any money to do it.
A post shared by George Kruis (@georgekruis) on Feb 24, 2020 at 10:00am PST
“I think he was 90kilos at the time. He was awful, nothing short of that. He was a bad rugby player! Everyone was like: ‘We’re just handing trials out? He’s a competition winner?’.
“Then he gets in the gym and puts on 29kg and you see the amount of hard work he puts into everything he does.
“Everyone looks at his line-out – at that he’s a nause, a guru, whatever you want to call it because he’s brilliant – but he works incredibly hard on his all-round game as well.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 23, 2020
“He is one of the hardest working players you will find. He is always very tough on himself, but in terms of standard-setting, you don’t need to look much further than him.”
Kruis, who misfired with a cheeky grubber kick in the 24-12 rout of Ireland, admits the end of the Six Nations could also signal the end of his 44-cap England career.
“It’s a tough decision, but extremely exciting on all fronts,” the second row said.
“I can probably make too much of overthinking situations and sometimes it’s a good opportunity, whatever I decide to do. If I stay, it’s an unbelievable opportunity, if I go, it is also a great opportunity.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 23, 2020
“This is something I need to sit down and have a proper think about once we have finished up the Six Nations.
“It’s always emotional playing for England. It’s clearly an absolute privilege, something myself, my family and my friends really enjoy.
“It’s something we are very privileged to do. You could get injured at any point and then not play. It is very much a game at a time on that front.”