‘I genuinely think if he played for a different club, he would have a whole load of England caps’
Two things are particularly strange about Newcastle Falcons hooker George McGuigan: one is that he is the Gallagher Premiership’s top try scorer this season, with 12, and the other is that he is nowhere near the England squad.
What’s even stranger is that his understudy at Newcastle, Jamie Blamire, is probably England’s third choice hooker and has been capped on plenty of occasions over the last year. Meanwhile, the closest the 29-year-old McGuigan has got to playing for England was representing the Saxons in 2016.
With that said, it does not mean that McGuigan does not have plenty of fans in England. One of those is clearly David Flatman, who raved about him this week on Premiership Rugby’s latest episode of The Lowdown. This came after McGuigan bagged a hat-trick against Wasps at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Saturday, although it was actually in a losing cause.
However, Flatman did raise the point that he would probably have an England cap if he played for another team, as Newcastle have had a very low representation in England squads in recent years. This is perhaps something Eddie Jones has tried to redress over the past year, handing debuts to Blamire, Trevor Davison, Callum Chick and Adam Radwan, but McGuigan has missed out.
“What a player,” the former Bath prop said.
“It’s the sort of thing lots of people hate people like you and me saying, I genuinely think if he played for a different club, and if he had done for the last five years, he would have a whole load of England caps. He is a brilliant rugby player and it took England years to realise how good someone like Mark Wilson was, will they ever realise how good George McGuigan is? I think they might not and I think it’s such a shame. I think he’s a wonderful player.
“His hat-trick, it’s one of the worst hat-tricks I’ve ever seen. It could only be worse if it was three driving mauls, two of them were, but a wonderful player.”
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