Jamie George insists England not worried about mind games from Eddie Jones ahead of clash with Japan

Back together: England takes on Eddie Jones’ Japan side this weekend (Getty Images)
Back together: England takes on Eddie Jones’ Japan side this weekend (Getty Images)

Jamie George has insisted England can easily defuse any pre-match verbal grenades from Eddie Jones before facing their former boss’ Japan side.

Red Rose head coach Steve Borthwick will come up against his coaching mentor Jones when England take on the Brave Blossoms in Tokyo on Saturday.

England have trained specifically for the soaring temperatures that will hit them in the Japanese capital this week, with specially designed warmth-based pre and post training regimes.

Captain George feels just as prepared to handle any heat from Jones in the build-up, however, ahead of taking on his former England boss for the first time.

Wily operator Jones has spent a long and distinguished coaching career knowing exactly how to distract opponents through smartly worded public statements, but Saracens hooker George believes England are sharp enough not to fall into that trap.

Asked if England expect any typical Jones mind games this week, George replied: “I don’t know, I don’t think so. We’re just really looking forward to the entire experience.

“I’m not sure that we can distract ourselves or be worried about too much of any of that kind of thing. We’ve got a huge amount of respect for Eddie, he did great things for English rugby.

“He really gave me my first opportunity and like I said, he prepares his teams very, very well.”

George made his England debut at the tail-end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, in the dead rubber against Uruguay after Stuart Lancaster’s side had already been eliminated at the pool stages.

Jamie George is expecting Japan to rise to the occasion in their first match under Jones (Getty Images)
Jamie George is expecting Japan to rise to the occasion in their first match under Jones (Getty Images)

Taskmaster Australian Jones then replaced Lancaster after the World Cup, and promptly in effect launched George’s Test career from 2016 onwards.

George built his international career steadily under Jones, and since took the captaincy for this year’s Six Nations, after Owen Farrell’s step back from Test duties.

The 85-cap front-rower will lead England again across the summer’s tour to Japan and New Zealand, and cannot wait to take on a rival Test outfit coached by Jones.

England will move on from Japan to face New Zealand twice, in Dunedin on July 6 and Auckland on July 13, in a sizeable barometer of their progress under shrewd boss Borthwick.

Jones endured a miserable and short-lived second stint with Australia for the 2023 World Cup, having returned to his home nation after being dismissed by England.

Australia failed to qualify from the pool stage in France, for their worst-ever World Cup performance, with Jones losing his job as a result.

Now that England are gearing up to face their old boss, George insisted the Red Rose men cannot afford to take anything for granted about the way Japan will play this weekend.

Jones led England, George included, to the 2019 World Cup final in Japan, with the current Red Rose skipper well aware of the parallels of a return to the Land of the Rising Sun.

“I don’t think you can expect too much, we don’t know, it’s the first game that he’s going to be coaching the team,” said George.

“We know that he gets his teams right for big games, this is a huge game for him, the first game in Japan, us going back there, there’s some great memories, some not-so great memories.”