England’s pack have been drilled for a Georgian forward onslaught in Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup opener at Twickenham.
Eddie Jones’ newly crowned Six Nations champions are expected to sweep aside opposition ranked 12th in the world, having amassed 125 points in the teams’ only two previous meetings.
But they are confrontational adversaries – a lesson learned during a training session in Oxford last year when a live scrummaging session between the rival packs erupted into a brawl.
Building towards our return to HQ 🙌🏟️
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 10, 2020
In anticipation of Georgia using their scrum to gain a foothold in the game, England have placed extra emphasis on set-piece preparation this week.
“Their strengths are definitely up front, where they are very tough and very brutal. We’ve been preparing for that challenge the whole week,” forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said.
“Every opponent has their own specific DNA that they pride themselves on and the scrum is what they pride themselves on. Historically they’ve had an unbelievable scrum.
“We understand the threat up front that they bring. Having been involved with other teams that have the same mentality, that’s very much part of who they are and they hold on to that very tightly.
“It’s something you get brought up with. When that’s part of your ‘everyday speak’, it’s something you take immense pride in.
“As a nation, they take pride in it so it’s a thing they use to get into the game, it’s a thing they use to impose themselves on to the game and it’s an aspect they use to create pressure.
“It’s very important to them, they obviously train immensely hard and they take very seriously.
“I haven’t played against Georgia or coached against Georgia, so this will be my first experience of doing that.
🏴 v 🇬🇪 | 🏴 v 🇬🇪 | ☘️ v 🇬🇪 pic.twitter.com/PhHD2IMXVc
— Georgian Rugby (@GeorgianRugby) November 11, 2020
“But the experience this pack has of working against them is something we have discussed at length. It’s something we’ve replicated in training and we are prepared for that challenge.
“The pack is really up for it and looking forward to it. We had a good session today (Wednesday) so the boys are really ready.”
Anything other than a comfortable England win against opponents crushed 48-7 by Scotland last month would be a major surprise, but Proudfoot is stamping out any complacency.
“They will be doing everything in their ability to be successful and so will we. I don’t know where an expectation is created or spoken about,” he said.
“Myself as a forwards coach, I understand that this will be an exceptionally tough challenge and we will prepare for that.
“We want a good performance. A win and a good performance. We want to win every game and improve in every game and play well in every game.”