Jamie George provides boost for England with unexpected return to fitness

ENGLAND have been lifted after a dismal start to the Autumn by the unexpected return to fitness of hooker Jamie George.

George is expected to miss the entire Autumn Nations Cup campaign after breaking two metatarsals in club duty for Saracens against Leicester on October 1, the initial prognosis is 10 to 12 recovery period.

But the Lions front line has been included in the 36-man training squad for Saturday’s visit of Japan to Twickenham with England confirming they are available for selection.

Will be hoping George can show enough fitness to support starting hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie as Eddie Jones’ men look to bounce back from a shock 30-29 loss to Argentina on Saturday.

Back three reinforcements have also arrived with Tommy Freeman making a successful return from injury for Northampton against Exeter on Saturday, while Jonny May is available after recovering from an elbow problem.

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Freeman and May will force starting wings Joe Cokanasiga and Jack Nowell with the backline now showing a notable lack of pace.

Nowell, one of the better performers against Argentina, insists a simple fix should revive the fall, claiming England were the architects of their own collapse in the flat series opener.

It was the Pumas’ first defeat in 13 years after winning 10 in a row in the fixture, in the process registering their fifth loss in nine Tests this year with tougher tasks against New Zealand and South Africa.

The penalty count finished 10-10 and Nowell said: “If we had sorted out the discipline it would have been a completely different game. We knew exactly what we needed to improve on.

It’s hard to play rugby when you give away so many penalties. They kick to the corner, take three points, chipping away at you. It’s Test rugby and you have to win the game many times. But when we make it hard on ourselves, we only have ourselves to blame.

“It’s not like we don’t know what to do out there, we know exactly what to do. We just don’t do it.

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“We don’t look at each other in the dressing room after the game and think ‘how did we lose’. We know why we lost and maybe we deserved it.

“The trust is there between the teams. We will stick together and stay tight.”

Piercing the cloud hanging over Twickenham is Manu Tuilagi’s long-awaited return at outside center after a year out with hamstring and knee injuries.

The hard-working 31-year-old made several dents in Argentina’s defense before limping off with a blister and Nowell was happy on the pitch with his long-term friend.

“It’s great to have Manu back. He’s an unbelievable player and has worked hard to come back,” said Nowell, whose own international career has endured repeated visits to the treatment room.

“When you have a guy like that inside you, he pushes players, he pulls players, but he’s also very good defensively.

“We didn’t want to jinx, so we didn’t say anything because for years we were like ships in the night, we couldn’t go on the field together. We enjoyed a cuddle after the game!

“He’s just got a blister and it’s not too bad. The physios are good at taking care of things like that so they’re good. He’s had worse!”

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