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Hill the inspiration for Under 20s schoolboy hooker

Hertfordshire schoolboy Jamie George is receiving the best possible tuition when it comes to making the grade in professional rugby.

The Saracens hooker is preparing for A Levels in Psychology, Philosophy and Sports Science in the sixth form at Haileybury School.

But outside the classroom the youngest member of the England Under 20 squad can call on one of the game’s most famous tutors in England legend Richard Hill.

One of the coaching responsibilities the 2003 World Cup winner now has is to make sure George, 18, maximises the talent that has seen him establish himself in a side that has beaten Italy and Wales in the first two rounds of the RBS Under-20 6 Nations. Ireland are the next test at Dubarry Park in Athlone this Friday night (6.15pm).

Hill reviews all George’s games, watching in person or on DVD, providing feedback as well as keeping track of his training, turning up on the sidelines of the Under 20s camp at Bisham Abbey recently to monitor his progress.

The advice passed on tells you as much about the standards that won Hill 71 England caps and selection on three tours with the British and Irish Lions as it does of the expectations he has of his pupil.

"Richard Hill is my mentor at the club and it can be quite tough for me to get into Saracens a lot because I’m still at school," said George, who is considering postponing his exams to make himself available for the IRB Junior World Championship in Japan this summer.

"But he comes into the school to see me, works specifically with me and looks at all the games I play in, so he’s been a massive influence on my career so far.

"He’s a really nice guy, really down to earth., and while he’s got a real aura about him which might have been intimidating, he’s just another guy.

"What he gets across is that you have to create a professional environment around everything you do.

"It’s not just about being a professional player but a professional in the way you approach every aspect of your life. His approach is that if you give everything and work hard you won’t fail."

George, who has worked with England assistant coach Simon Hardy for the last two years on his throwing, has all the physical attributes – at 1.83m (6ft) tall and weighing in at 104kg (16st 5lb) – to compete at the highest level.

He is active away from the set-pieces too, as a threat with the ball in hand and was a regular try-scorer for England’s unbeaten Under 18 side last year.

Progress up the international ladder came faster than he expected, though, along with pressure to live up to the standards set by last year’s England Under 20 side.

Three Saracens players – Noah Cato, Alex Goode and Andy Saull – were part of the squad that swept all before them in the Six Nations before reaching the final of the Junior World Championship.

Their quality has been underlined this term with all three featuring regularly in the Guinness Premiership.

"I watched all the Under 20 games on TV last year and looked on them with real awe. I was hoping to get the opportunity with them, so I’m really lucky to have got the chance this year," added George.

"I’ve loved the experience so far and learned a lot from it and what to expect about Under 20 rugby. It’s really physical and really fast."

So far, George has coped with the learning curve. Next comes Ireland, who have lost just one age-group international at Dubarry Park in four seasons. Hill will be watching with interest.