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Kruis will keep his foot down in quest to be Borthwick’s man Down Under

George KruisBritish & Lions hopeful George Kruis is adamant there will be no favouritism from Steve Borthwick despite his former Saracens colleague’s elevation to the coaching staff for next summer’s demanding ten-match tour of New Zealand.

England forwards guru Borthwick will continue his meteoric coaching rise by joining Andy Farrell and Rob Howley in Warren Gatland’s Lions back room team, thereby enhancing the prospects of English second rows he knows best.

Red Rose boss Eddie Jones expects up to 15 of his England players to be involved on next summer’s tour, with the ultra-consistent Kruis vying with Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje for one of five dedicated lock spots.

However, Kruis told The Rugby Paper: “It’s good for Steve and testament to what he does off the field with England. He’s dedicated and relentless in his coaching so he deserves everything he gets, but I’ll not be expecting any favours.

“You’ll have to speak to Warren Gatland about Lions selection but it’s nice that Eddie’s got the confidence in us. He wants world-class players for England and to have that you’ve got to have lots of players playing in big competitions.

“Getting to the final stages of the Premiership and Champions Cup is a huge part of what we’re about because to have that experience of winning in pressure situations stands you in good stead for England and anything beyond that.

“I’m not thinking about England or the Lions right now, though. I’m back at Saracens and we’ve got a block of seven huge games, including four in the Champions Cup, and we’re looking to put ourselves in good positions in both.”

Kruis made a faster than expected return from ankle surgery to feature in England’s last two autumn victories over Argentina and Australia.

In despatching the Wallabies, England equalled the 14 consecutive wins achieved by Sir Clive Woodward’s team in 2002 and 2003, meaning a second successive Six Nations Grand Slam will see them smash New Zealand’s 18-game mark.

However, Kruis insists records hold little interest to an England squad who are hell-bent on usurping the world champion All Blacks as rugby’s No.1.

He said: “We’re not particularly bothered about equalling or beating records, we definitely prefer to set ourselves new tasks. It’s good to have those records but you don’t go out to achieve them, you always just look to win the next game.

“We know we’ll be the target for the other Six Nations teams. Any game against England holds a lot of history for all of them involved and although we’re on a pretty good run at the moment, that counts for nothing when we play France.

“When we left the camp last week, Eddie’s message was the same as he told the media; he just wants us to play like internationals for our clubs and keep improving. That’s exactly as it should be if we want to achieve that No.1 position.”

Jones’s unique brand of aggressive positivity does not appeal to everyone, with Australia head coach Michael Cheika massively unimpressed by his fellow countryman’s barrage of verbal grenades in the build-up to last week’s Test.

Jones was depicted as a clown by the Aussie media, but lock forward Kruis finds the boss’s jibes inspiring. He said: “Eddie likes to stir things up but it’s good for rugby and fans love it, so you’ve just got to make sure you perform.

“It makes it exciting but the things Eddie says inspire you and give you a lot of confidence. He’s passionate, sets out his game plan and gets us believing we can go out and do it, so in that respect it’s great and we’ve been delivering.

“We didn’t talk about records but it was nice to get four wins in a row against Australia.”


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