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George reveals cricket shot vision

Published 20/08/2015

Centre Jonathan Joseph, pictured, starts England's match against France alongside Luther Burrell
Centre Jonathan Joseph, pictured, starts England's match against France alongside Luther Burrell

Jamie George will ward off any line-out jitters during his England debut against France on Saturday by visualising the perfect cricket cover drive.

George will win his first cap as a second-half replacement in Paris knowing a solid performance will all but guarantee inclusion as the third hooker in Stuart Lancaster's World Cup squad.

Tom Youngs and Rob Webber will be present at England 2015 as first and second choice in the position, while Luke Cowan-Dickie's line-out implosion in last Saturday's 19-14 victory over France has effectively removed him from contention.

Ten years of playing "mind games" with Simon Hardy, the line-out coaching specialist who has worked extensively at international and club level, has prepared George for his World Cup audition.

"The mental side of throwing is very big and you have to try and take yourself out of the occasion," George said.

"When I'm throwing, I like to put myself in my bedroom and let nothing else come into that bubble.

"When I'm visualising my bedroom, I'm not in there aiming at anything in particular, it's just a way of lowering my heart rate and settling my nerves.

"It's a place where I'm comfortable. Golfers call it their happy place. Throwing is a mental skill, it's not just physical. You have to try and block out everything that's going on in your mind.

"My buzz word is cricket. The best cricketers play a shot and, when they finish their shot, they hold their pose.

"The standard cover drive and watching them pose after that is poetry in motion for me. I don't hold my pose for too long.

"There are lots of different things that can change like the weather and the opposition, but I'm very routine-based. I'm all about my rhythm. I take a few deep breaths.

"You have to put yourself in a zone where you are ready to throw and put everything that's gone on in the past behind you."

George roomed with England one-day cricketer Sam Billings at Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, and admits he "beat me to it" in the race for international honours.

"This is a massive opportunity. I just want to make the most of the occasion and enjoy it as much as I can," George said.

"We have put a big emphasis on the set-piece this week and obviously I am in the middle of that.

"I have to make sure I'm as accurate as I can be with regards to the set-piece and if the opportunity comes in the loose to make the most of it, get my hands on the ball and make a few tackles."

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