Rugby-Mum's the word as England skipper George eyes Scotland clash

  • Rugby
  • Friday, 23 Feb 2024

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England Training - Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Britain - February 19, 2024 England's Jamie George during training Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Jamie George learned his rugby-fanatic mother had contracted lung cancer the day he was appointed England captain and said he wanted to beat Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday in her memory after she died at the age of 68 last week.

Hooker George was named captain for the Six Nations campaign in mid-January and said the intervening weeks had been hectic as he shuttled between training camps and his mother Jane's bedside.

"It's been really tough," he told reporters on Thursday. "I found out about her cancer diagnosis on the same day I found out I was going to be England captain, so that was a pretty mixed day.

"She was the biggest rugby fan on earth. She loved this team, loved watching me play. She never missed a game. The text I've got from her before my first game (as captain) is something I'll treasure forever.

"She said it was the proudest day of her life. Given what she was going through to still be able to put a smile on her face is huge."

George said his mother had insisted he accept the captaincy.

"Wherever she is now, she will be looking down telling everyone that is there her son is the England captain," he added.

"When I first became captain, I spoke a lot about showing how much it means to play for England and what an amazing impact you can have on people's lives.

"I have seen it first hand. My mum was on her deathbed talking about the England rugby team and how proud she was of me being able to do what I do.

"That's incredible. She will be with me in some capacity on Saturday and that means a huge amount to me."

George said his mother had been a constant pitchside presence as his career progressed from junior club rugby to Saracens, England and the British and Irish Lions.

"She was always there. We had quite a few heated debates," he recalled.

George said his brother had travelled home from Thailand and would be with their father Ian at the match on Saturday.

"Of course, I want to win for her and I want to win in her memory, but I'm fully aware that Scotland aren't going to allow us to do that," he said.

"It would be an amazing story, it would be an amazing situation for my family, but regardless of the result, I'm going out there to make her proud and make my family in the stands proud too."

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Ed Osmond)

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