There is belief: Jamie George confident England will improve during Six Nations

By Sports Desk February 10, 2024

Jamie George insisted England are ready to take on the Guinness Six Nations’ big hitters after Wales were dispatched 16-14 at Twickenham.

England fell 14-5 behind but fought back through a Fraser Dingwall try and two George Ford penalties – the second the decisive kick in the 72nd minute – to make it two wins in as many matches.

Only Ireland also remain on course for the Grand Slam but the competition is about to get harder for Steve Borthwick’s men with Scotland next up in Edinburgh before closing with clashes against France and Andy Farrell’s defending champions.

“There is belief. We have got a good opportunity to rest up a bit in the fallow week and then focus on getting better because we know we are going to need to get better going up to Murrayfield,” George said.

“The foundations that we have laid have allowed us to believe in what we are doing and believe in the England way. We want to continue what we are doing and keep growing.”

When asked about facing Scotland, France and Ireland, George said: “I don’t think it is a huge leap.

“Obviously we have got three difficult games coming up but I don’t think we are in a place to say it needs to be a quantum leap to get a load better.

“We are two from two, we have done well and we know we have got a huge amount of growth left in the squad so our focus is on making sure we optimise that.”

England showed resilience to claw their way in front despite conceding the half-time penalty count 6-0 and seeing Ollie Chessum and Ethan Roots sent to the sin bin, the overlapping yellow cards reducing them to 13 players for five minutes.

“This is a team that stays in the fight and a team that finds a way. Were there improvements on Italy last weekend? Yes, I think there were,” head coach Borthwick said.

“The work we’re doing each day is paying dividends. But the biggest lesson here is the trait the players are developing in themselves, which is one that stays in the fight.

“I always sensed from the players there was a confidence to find the way to get the result.

“Prior to the World Cup we identified that England’s second-half performances had deteriorated since 2018. Last weekend and here we’ve seen it consistently improve.”

While England have built a 100 per cent record, Wales have headed in the opposite direction with losses to the Red Rose and Scotland by a combined total of just three points.

Had they shown more composure in the second half, they might have registered a first victory at Twickenham since 2015.

“It’s pretty disappointing really. I’m proud of the performance and the effort of the players out there, but we’re disappointed we didn’t come away with the win,” head coach Warren Gatland said.

“It’s part of the journey we’re on in terms of developing as a team. I said to the players we’re not there yet but we’re going to be a bloody good team going forward.

“And this was part of that process in terms of learning about game management. I’m really proud of the effort.

“We felt really good at half-time and didn’t feel under pressure. On a few occasions we didn’t get the rub of the green in the second half and that’s rugby.”

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