England Under-20 hooker Jamie George's growing talent gained an even bigger public stage with his man-of-the-match performance against Wales but the Saracens starlet says he is just getting started.
The 19-year-old became the youngest ever player to represent the England Under-20s last year and Saracens have made a considerable show of faith in his abilities by making him captain of their A side the Storm.
Sarries main hooker Schalk Brits describes him simply as phenomenal and although George is trying to learn everything he can off the South African it may be just a matter of time before he dislodges him from Brendan Venter’s first team.
“We’ve got some fantastic players at Saracens and that will make it hard for me to break in, particularly in my position with Schalk Brits who in my opinion is the best hooker in the world at the moment,” said George – another Saracens youngster mentored by England legend Richard Hill.
“It is great to have such a player that I can work alongside and I try to learn as much from him as I can, I try to base my game around what he does, I’m not quite as quick as he is but I try to look at the things he does in games and learn from that.
“You look at players of the calibre of Steve Borthwick and Schalk Brits and they are all great role models for me.
“Brendan has given me a huge boost by letting me captain the twos and he has shown real faith in me, so I’m really grateful to him for that.
“It was a massive bonus for me being captain of the Storm, the reserves at Saracens, as we had a great season and it has given me the confidence and leadership skills.
“It has given me the confidence to talk on the pitch in certain situations and bring some leadership to the group.
“I’m definitely able to communicate more this year, as last year I was a bit overawed by the experience and more worried about what I was doing rather than the rest of the team.”
It is not just Brits ahead of George in the race for the No.2 shirt – experienced campaigners Fabio Ongaro and Ethienne Reynecke are not willing to give up their berth without a fight.
But Sarries forwards coach Alex Sanderson knows they will have to give George, who made his Sarries debut earlier this season, a crack of the whip soon or risk losing him to a host of admirers.
He said: “There are lots of sharks circling so we knew we had to offer him something this season because we not want him to get disheartened.
“So we gave the captaincy of the Storm where he is bossing around five or six first teamers – it is a role that has really allowed him to mature and grow as a player and person.
“He will definitely be involved regularly next season and even more so the season after. Although he is a babyface he is the youngest of three brothers so he knows how to handle himself.
“If he was in the Super 14 he would be playing first-team rugby already but in the Premiership you need a lot of experience and to be careful with how you let someone like Jamie in.
“There’s no limit to how good he can get. I have seen a lot of talented kids his age but none with his temperament or work ethic.”