Saracens bond can give England winning edge, insists Peel
The close bond the Saracens players enjoy from playing together for club and country will help England in their quest for Rugby World Cup glory, insists forwards coach Ian Peel.
Red Rose head coach Eddie Jones named eight players from the reigning Gallagher Premiership Rugby champions in his 31-man squad earlier this month for the tournament in Japan.
Jamie George, Billy and Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Owen Farrell all made the cut, along with new Saracens signings Jack Singleton and Elliot Daly.
And Peel is confident that the relationship those players have forged during their time on and off the pitch together will serve them well in the intensity of international rugby.
“The amount of times they have played together for club and country, how close they are as a group, the likes of Jamie [George], Owen Farrell, they have grown up together,” he said.
“They know each other well and know how to drive each other and get the best out of each other, so it depends on selection but you would think those guys would have a big impact.
“You would expect them to drive that team forward during the World Cup and they when I spoke to them they were all really excited about getting back into it and pushing on.”
Peel also stressed the importance of the big-game temperament the likes of Farrell and Itoje possess, insisting that their relentless drive for success sets the benchmark for their teammates.
“Owen is brilliant and he’s constantly learning, improving himself on his leadership and he’s got the likes of Jamie George alongside him who he’s known since he was 14 years old,” he said.
“Same with George Kruis, these guys all grew up together and Owen really is an inspirational leader but he also has good people around him, as a group they lead each other.
“Maro also relishes the big occasion, he’s a quality athlete, a quality player and again someone who’s mindset and the way he goes about his work is inspirational.
“He’s definitely a doer and he’s the first out on the training pitch and last in, he puts in a huge amount of work to be as good as he is – and that inspires the younger guys.
“He was in a few weeks before he went away for the England camp and did some skill things and for our young boys to see him, see how he goes about his work, is really good.”
England showed their potential by beating Wales 33-19 in their opening World Cup warm-up game at Twickenham, before Jones’ men lost the rematch in Cardiff a week later.
But having learnt a lot from finishing second to Wales in the Six Nations earlier this year, Peel expects the Red Rose to be a completely different force in Japan next month.
“I think we saw in the Six Nations and how well England went in that, if they get everyone fit and get that consistency then they have a really good chance in the World Cup,” he added.
“They have strong forwards, a strong set-piece, that’s going to be really important, and they’ve got some firepower behind, some players who can create some stuff.
“If they can keep everyone fit and everyone energised and enthused – as it’s a long tournament, it is tough – then they will be in with a good chance.
“When the boys came into us after the Six Nations we met with all of them and were talking about their learnings, it’s a constant process and they’re always looking to improve.
“They want to make tweaks to what they are doing individually and also tactically to how they want to play the game and what’s going to work for that group of players against their opposition.”