Jamie George has urged England to draw inspiration from their cricketing counterparts by cultivating their own form of ‘Bazball’.
Steve Borthwick’s side launch a new era when they face Italy in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday with George leading a side containing two uncapped starters and three more debutants on the bench.
George is at the helm for the first time and the Saracens hooker is stirred by the success of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum in developing a winning cricket team that plays without fear.
The style has been dubbed Bazball, referencing McCullum’s nickname, and George believes that by adopting similar principles his England can also flourish as the next World Cup cycle begins at the Stadio Olimpico.
“I’m a cricket fan so why would I not take inspiration from what Ben Stokes is doing with the England cricket team?” George said.
“You look at the influence Ben Stokes has on young players, allowing them to go out and perform the way they do, creating an environment to allow that. It’s exactly the model that we want.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be perfect, it’s never going to be perfect. But at the same time, Ben is someone who I take a huge amount of inspiration from.
“I want that connection with the fans. I want people to love coming to watch England play, for plenty of reasons – the result being one, how we play the game being another.
“Also the amount of fight and character that we show, the amount of pride and passion that we play with.
“Ben Stokes talks about being entertainers and we want to entertain people, of course we do, but we want to do it in the right way, we want to do it in the England way.
“They’ve managed to find a way to do that with Bazball so we will find our own way of doing it.”
England have lost the opening match in the previous four Six Nations and George is determined for them to end that sequence by delivering an emphatic victory over opponents they have beaten in all 30 previous meetings.
“We want to make a statement and we also want to make it very clear what this England team is about going forward. And we want to give the England fans plenty to shout about,” he said.
George knows the advice he will give to the uncapped Fraser Dingwall, Ethan Roots, Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso also stands for himself when he lead the side out for the first time.
Congratulations to the five uncapped players in the match day squad: @FraserDingwall_, @EthanRoots6, @finsmithh, Chandler Cunningham-South & Immanuel Feyi-Waboso – welcome to England Rugby! 🌹🤝#ITAvENG | #GuinnessM6N
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 1, 2024
“It’s going to be quite an emotional day,” he said. “I’m quite an emotional person anyway. I’ve got some family flying over – and some family who aren’t able to fly.
“The obvious statement is that it’s going to be a dream come true. I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for moments like that.
“As ever I just want to be in the moment as much as I can and soak it all up. It’s a similar message to what I’ll be telling the guys having their first cap.
“That was the best piece of advice I got before my first cap because it goes like that (clicks fingers). The anthem… it just flies by.
“I want to really try and soak it all up, take it all in and then put in a good performance off the back of it.”