Jamie George has said that England Captain, Dylan Hartley, was one of the first people to congratulate him as he was named part of the British and Irish Lions squad. Hartley text George following the announcement in spite of the fact that he was left out of the Lions Line up.
Hartley wasn’t the only one to miss out on a place in the Lions Tour of New Zealand. Joe Launchbury, James Haskell and Mike Brown were also overlooked.
Speaking to the media George paid tribute to his fellow hooker, stating that Hartley was indeed one of the first to congratulate him on his selection. He said that the message attributed to the kind of person that Hartley is. Obviously he would have been personally disappointed at not having been selected but that didn’t stop him from being happy for his team mate.
The message is even more surprising given the history that the pair share. Back in 2015 Hartley was dropped from England’s world cup squad as a result of an altercation between him and George. Hartley head butted his fellow international player during a match between the pair’s union sides, Northampton and Saracens. Having proven that he has made the effort to change his attitude in the game, Dylan Hartley, has gone on to captain England. Both parties now work together with a common goal and have clearly managed to forget the past.
Hartley also said to George that he would keep the ball rolling for England as the international squad travel to Argentina. A statement that was gratefully received by George.
George also spoke about the Lions first gathering this week and the fact that he enjoyed the experience in spite of the poor timing. Losing George to the Lions meant that Saracens had to forgo his presence in the run up to the Champion Cup final. Head honcho at Saracens, Mark McCall, outwardly expressed his upset at having to cancel a training session. He said that the timing was unbelievably bad for his squad. Six of his players had to miss training to attend the Lions meeting.
Warren Gatland defended his decision to call a meeting at this time, and thanked the Union clubs for releasing players so that they were able to attend the gathering, dubbed ‘Messy Monday’, where all members were issued their Lions kit in preparations for the tour of New Zealand.
Unable to side with either argument George diplomatically said:
“Obviously it’s not ideal for the preparation. I think it was probably a tough one for both Sarries and the Lions. I think it was an opportunity that we couldn’t miss. It was such a great occasion and I’m happy we were able to do it. It is what it is now, we’ll train for the next two days then go to Murrayfield on Friday. We’ve got plenty of time for our preparation so I think it will be okay.”
Author Lisa Baldwin
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