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George hopes to emulate 2003 heroes in Japan

George hopes to emulate 2003 heroes in Japan

England hooker Jamie George believes his side can channel the spirit of 2003 to lift the World Cup in Japan next month.

The Red Rose face Tonga in their opening group game in Sapporo next Sunday, aiming to avenge their heartache of a group-stage exit on home soil four years ago and emulate the feat achieved by Martin Johnson and co 16 years ago

And George – who started all five games in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations – says there’s no reason why they can’t go all the way and lift the William Webb Ellis Trophy once again.

“There’s a genuine belief in the squad that we can do it,” the Saracens No.2 said.

“I saw a video the other day on social media of Martin Johnson after the 2003 final that people haven’t really seen very much – it was an incredibly humble interview.

“He was talking about all the back-room staff, the players who had got them to that place.

“I just thought to myself: ‘What an incredible leader.’ And then, what an incredible position to be in.

“It got the juices flowing. It gives you goose-bumps just thinking about it.”

George travels to Asia as one of England’s most reliable performers, part of a powerful starting front row.

The Saracens ace has accumulated 40 England caps since his debut against France in 2015 and was part of Stuart Lancaster’s World Cup squad who exited the tournament at Twickenham four years ago.

But with a chance of redemption now looming, George is convinced he and his teammates have what it takes to follow in Johnson’s footsteps.

“We’re finally in Japan and it’s almost a little bit surreal,” he added.

“But you dream about these things; you dream about winning World Cups.

“I don’t think many countries in the world can say they’ve got the depth we have.

“We’re also aware that it’s going to take a lot for us to get there.

“I’m incredibly confident we’re in a brilliant place.”

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