A look back in time
As rugby in the northern hemisphere gears up for its annual rugby extravaganza, the 2024 Guinness Six Nations, England will be led into the tournament by our very own Jamie George.
It is the ultimate honour for a player who has already won everything with his club, 85 caps for his country, including a World Cup final, and two tours with the British & Irish Lions.
But who was the first player from Saracens to captain England? That honour goes to former No 8 Tony Diprose way back in 1998. But the first man to captain England into the Five or Six Nations from the club was the man who just appointed George as his captain, England head coach Steve Borthwick.
Borthwick captained England 21 times, although when he led his side out against Italy in February 2008 he was still a Bath player. He then joined Saracens that summer, when he led England on tour to New Zealand. Technically, his first Six Nations game
in charge of England as a Saracens player was against Italy in 2009. George will also lead out England for the first time against the Italians next weekend.
George takes over from his clubmate Owen Farrell after the decision by the latter to step down from the international arena after winning 112 caps for his country between 2012-23. He was captain on 48 occasions and will no doubt have passed on any necessary tips to his successor.
It is an honour that George was delighted to accept and, as he told the Daily Telegraph recently, he aims to improve the recent win-ratio at Twickenham. Since the start of the 2021-22 season it stands at 50%.
“I think the record speaks for itself – it’s not good enough. An England team at home should not lose. Twickenham should be a horrible place to come and play,” said George.
“I think there are many factors that go into that. I look at what Quins are doing with their ‘Big Game’ in terms of making things a spectacle and involving the crowd in that respect. I think there are lessons to be learned there. Likewise, what we at Saracens do for our big game at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
“As players we’ve got some work to do because we want people out of their seats. I think that happens in the way that we play, how much pride we show, how physical we are and how much it means to us.
“Sitting down with Steve (Borthwick) and listening to him talk about making Twickenham a fortress again and bringing the fans with us is stuff that I can connect with massively. And that’s something that is really at the forefront of my mind.
“Every time I play for England, if we do lose, I feel like we let the fans down.”
George has never been one to let down fans at the StoneX Stadium with his all-action approach and if succeeds in his bid to reconnect the England rugby fans with their national team then he will make Twickenham a very difficult and hostile place for teams to play at.
Wales and Ireland you have been warned!