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Hooker George achieves Lions starting goal

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/06/2017

Jamie George will start the first international match of his career against the All Blacks after moving from England understudy to British and Irish Lions Test hooker.

Saracens forward George's 17 England caps have all been won off the replacements' bench as back-up to current England captain, the New Zealand-born Dylan Hartley.

But at Eden Park on Saturday he will become the first player since former England star Jason Robinson 16 years ago to start for the Lions before his country.

"I definitely didn't see myself as an understudy," said George, when asked how he approached the Lions tour.

"I certainly wanted to learn as much as I could from Rory (Best) in particular, someone who is a player I've looked up to for a long time, and Ken (Owens) is in brilliant form at the minute.

"As soon as I made the plane, I thought to myself 'I've got every chance'."

If George proves to be a star of the Lions Test series, it could give England boss Eddie Jones food for thought before the reigning Six Nations champions resume business with their Tests in November.

While George has impressed in New Zealand, Hartley and company claimed an impressive 2-0 Test series victory over Argentina despite being without many top players.

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