Earl and England look ahead to Rugby World Cup semi-final
England hooker Jamie George once revealed that he uses a strange bedroom trick to get himself in the zone during high-pressure matches. George has played in four of England’s matches at the Rugby World Cup so far and will be desperately hoping to perform well against South Africa in this weekend’s crunch semi-final meeting.
George fared well against Fiji in the quarter-finals but will need to step it up another level against the Springboks, who are the hot favourites to overpower England and book their place in the final against either New Zealand or Argentina. He will be expected to be on the mark with his lineout throwing yet again, with any glaring errors from set-pieces able to prove costly.
There will undoubtedly be some pre-match nerves creeping through the England camp ahead of kick-off, but George already has the perfect strategy to keep himself calm under pressure. He previously explained that he simply imagines himself relaxing in his bedroom at home in order to lower his heart rate when he needs to stay composed.
“When I’m throwing I like to put myself in my bedroom and let nothing else come into that bubble,” George told The Guardian back in 2015. “It’s a place where I’m comfortable, golfers call it their happy place. I haven’t got a lot of money so it’s a very small room. I’m not in there aiming at anything in particular, it’s just a way of lowering my heart rate and settling my nerves.”
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George went on to explain that he believes it is crucial to have the right mental approach due to the importance of throwing the ball in perfectly every time. He also revealed that he models his throwing action on a cricket cover drive, adding: “The best cricketers play a shot and, when they finish it, they hold their pose.
“Throwing is a closed skill and it’s not just physical. You have to try to block off everything that’s going on in your mind. The mental side of throwing is very big and you have to try to take yourself out of the occasion.”
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It remains to be seen how George will fare against the Springboks, who will have high hopes of beating England after doing so in their last Rugby World Cup final in 2019. South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has already warned his players to be mindful that England will be out for revenge four years on from their heartbreaking loss in Japan.
“I think they’ll have some beef with us, I think they’ll be very physical,” said Erasmus when quizzed on England’s chances earlier this week. “It’s something that will always hurt, when you lose the World Cup.
“When I was a player we lost the World Cup against Australia, and for the next couple of games we played against Australia we were always thinking: ‘It was you guys who took it away from us’. England will feel like that, too: ‘You guys took it away from us and we would like to take it back’.”
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