Saracens moved to the top of the table after a comfortable victory against an injury ridden Wasps side. Jamie George popped up with three of his sides tries, and his man of the match display has added fuel to the argument for him to replace Dylan Hartley as Englands starting hooker.
The Saracens and Lions hooker was obviously embarrassed when he was presented the man of the match award at the end of a hard fought game. Of his three tries, two came at the end of a solid driving maul, however his first displayed the kind of quick thinking and alertness that Eddie Jones values in his players.
Jones wants his team playing right on the edge, constantly pushing the boundaries, and he will have been pleased from stands to have seen George reacting quickest to the penalty decision.
George’s fine displays over the summer in a Lions jersey have been well documented and after being rested at the start of the season he is continuing the fine form that saw him get the Lions number 2 jersey.
On current form he is the best hooker in the Premiership but form has not counted for him in his battle with Hartley for the England position. Jones has valued Hartley’s leadership qualities above all else. Whilst Hartley’s leadership qualities were undoubtedly needed at the start of Jones’ England tenancy, his side are now a more settled international team.
With two years to go until the World Cup in Japan, now would be the ideal time to swap Hartley for George and allow a new captain to grow into the role before the pressure-cooker of the World Cup.
With half of the England pack being made up of George’s Saracens teammates the disruption to the side would be minimal, especially if Jones is able to appoint a suitable captain.
Jones himself has said that players are “biting at the ankles” of Hartley in terms of selection, and if George carries on playing like this it won’t be long before he draws blood.