Hat-trick hero George stars as scrappy England down Georgia

Julian Guyer
·3 min read
England hooker Jamie George (3L) score the first of his three tries against Georgia in an Autumn Nations Cup international at Twickenham on Saturday
England hooker Jamie George (3L) score the first of his three tries against Georgia in an Autumn Nations Cup international at Twickenham on Saturday

Jamie George became the first England hooker to score a hat-trick of tries in a Test as they opened their Autumn Nations Cup campaign with a comfortable 40-0 win over Georgia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Six Nations champions England were out of sight at half-time, leading 26-0 after scoring four of their six tries.

Jack Willis marked his Test debut with the opening try before George crossed twice and full-back Elliot Daly went over.

The second half saw George complete his hat-trick before replacement scrum-half Dan Robson snuck over.

England captain Owen Farrell kicked five conversions.

"It was a great team performance," George told Amazon Prime.

"We are fully aware of their ability up front, how much pride they take in their set-piece and how physical they would be," he added.

For all Argentina had caused a huge upset earlier Saturday by beating New Zealand in Sydney, there was an inevitability about this result even though it took England 15 minutes to open the scoring in what was Georgia's first Test at Twickenham.

"We wanted to prove a point that they wouldn't be able to out-scrum us," England coach Eddie Jones told the BBC.

But he added: "We would have liked to have executed a bit better because we maybe left 20 points out there."

The teams had only met twice before, with England easing to 84-6 and 41-10 wins at the 2003 and 2011 World Cups.

And the omens were not promising for Georgia, rarely exposed to top-class opposition outside World Cups, following a 48-7 loss away to Scotland last month.

Nevertheless, Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze said afterwards: "We fought well, this was much better than against Scotland, even though we played one of the best sides in the world.

"If we want to improve, that's the key. Otherwise you can't. It doesn't matter how you train or what you do, it doesn't make a difference if you don't play against these kind of teams."

England, playing in their change strip of blue so as not to clash with Georgia's white, laid siege to the Lelos' line in the opening minutes and declined kickable penalties as they attempted to nullify the visitors' renowned scrum in a match played behind closed doors because of coronavirus restrictions.

- Pressure tells -

England's pressure eventually told when Willis, given a first cap on the back of an outstanding 2019/20 season with Wasps, was driven over for a 15th-minute try.

But it was not until some 15 minutes later that England, last year's losing World Cup finalists, had their second try when George was driven over from a close-range line-out.

And four minutes later, George had his second try, again from a rolling maul.

And before half-time, England had a fourth, this time from one of their few successful back-line moves.

Jonathan Joseph, playing on the wing rather than his usual centre position, cut across field and, with the aid of a dummy, burst through a gap in Georgia's midfield before releasing Daly.

Joseph, however, then went off injured.

The second half started amid an increasingly heavy downpour that made running rugby difficult and it was no surprise when another close-range line-out drive led to George's treble in the 57th-minute.

Robson, on for veteran Ben Youngs, darted over 12 minutes from time.

England continue their Pool A campaign at home to Ireland, 32-9 winners over Wales on Friday, a week on Saturday when the Welsh look to end a run of six straight defeats against all opponents with victory over Georgia in Llanelli.

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