<
>

McCall: 'George Kruis a dead cert to start for England'

David Rogers/Getty Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall described George Kruis as a certainty for England's second row during the RBS 6 Nations after his impressive afternoon against Leicester.

The reigning Aviva Premiership champions extended their lead at the summit to six points with a 26-6 victory which extends their triumphant run to 15 matches in all competitions. Instrumental in their victory was man of the match Kruis, who excelled as England forwards coach Steve Borthwick watched from the stands.

Borthwick mentored Kruis during his six-year spell as Saracens captain and McCall spoke of a player who has flourished since winning the first of 10 caps in 2014.

"Going away with England and becoming an international has helped his confidence grow so much," McCall said. "He's a real student of the line-out, but he's also magnificent around the park. I think he's a dead cert for a starting position for England.

"If you talk to George, he will tell you that Steve Borthwick and (former Saracens, now England defence coach) Paul Gustard have had a lot of influence on him.

"He's been very lucky with the people he's been associated with over the last five or six seasons."

Borthwick saw Leicester captain Ed Slater hobble off inside the first half hour with a knee injury and the versatile forward will miss Saturday's east midlands derby against Northampton.

"Slater has tweaked his medial ligaments. We'll do the medical checks over the next few days," Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said.

Three of Saracens' four touchdowns were penalty tries awarded by referee Greg Garner, who ensured Leicester were punished for a harrowing afternoon at the scrum that saw them driven backwards time and again.

"They were very good and we were very poor. I'm disappointed in what we put out there," Cockerill said. "That's not something we like to see from this pack and we'll be dealing with it. We have a little to deal with, clearly. We were royally done. We have to suck it up.

"We know that Saints at home next weekend is a very important game on all fronts and then we're back into Europe.

"We now have to show some character. We have historically shown very good character in times of adversity and I'm sure we'll see that reaction next week."