England Six Nations: Jamie George urged by men’s cricket team to ‘put smiles on fans’ faces’

England Six Nations: Jamie George urged by men’s cricket team to ‘put smiles on fans’ faces’

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Steve Borthwick relied heavily on striker Jamie George as England finished third in the World Cup.

Guinness Six Nations: Italy v England

Location: Olympic Stadium, Rome Date: Saturday, 3 February Start: 14:15 GMT

Access: Listen to BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, live commentary on the BBC Sport website and programme, watch on ITV1.

England want to attract attention from the men’s cricket team to “put smiles on the fans’ faces”, says new captain Jamie George.

The 33-year-old admires their “fun” message and wants his side to do the same after two wins in their last five home games.

“I’m not saying we should fight,” George told BBC Sport.

“But what I’m saying is that Ben Stokes talks a lot about himself and that he’s interesting.

“Something that is at the forefront of our minds, especially at the moment, is how we can put smiles on people’s faces, how we can bring Twickenham back to the fortress we want it to be.”

Since taking charge of England, head coach Steve Borthwick suffered a defeat against France and a first defeat against Fiji, which was also at Twickenham.

England travel to Italy on Saturday for their opening Six Nations of the year and their first game at Twickenham – since the defeat by Fiji – against Wales on 10 February.

‘It must be the best time of your career’

Hooker George was named England captain for the campaign in the absence of Saracens team-mate Owen Farrell.

Farrell, who will leave Saracens to join Racing 92 in July, has been in charge of England since 2019 but has stepped away from the competition to prioritize his health and family.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) does not allow overseas players to be selected for England, meaning George could become England’s new captain.

Despite playing under Farrell at Saracens and England, George says he is “very comfortable” in the role.

“In terms of style, I’m a people person. I care about relationships, I care about people who love their time playing in England,” said the 33-year-old.

“I’ve been traveling a bit – some of the best times of my life have been playing in England, but I’ve had my share of problems playing in England.

“For me, and I said to these guys, that was one of the first things I said, to be in this community and to play in England, it’s got to be the best time of your life, it’s got to be the best time of your career.

“And I’m very passionate about making sure people have the opportunity to do that.”

‘Battle-hardened’ England have a chance

Borthwick insists England’s “battle-hardened” players will give his side an advantage over their rivals in the Six Nations.

England’s 36-man squad has played well just minutes after finishing third at the World Cup. Each player registered two more hours of games than the next best France.

Six English teams have reached the final stage of the Investec Champions Cup and Premier, despite losing three teams from last season, competing as they have been, with only seven points separating the eight and the second.

“For the most part I will try to look on the positive side and I have a group of players who are very fit. They are ready to go,” said Borthwick.

“Another thing is the state of the Premiership. All the games are counted so the chances of all these games are great.

“And there have been teams fighting in Europe for qualification, fighting to find a way to win which is also good.

“Everything we’re finding is that all the clubs are running faster than they were 12 months ago, so that’s good.”

This option has been changed after the injury. The squad will be revealed on Thursday when Borthwick names his squad to face Italy.

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