England lock George Kruis has shed light on what the addition of new defence coach John Mitchell has done for the side.
Mitchell joined Eddie Jones’ staff in September after his first Super Rugby campaign with the Bulls, and has had an immediate impact.
“We went through some unbelievable form in the first couple of years under Eddie Jones and then had a dip, but the rebuilding process has been important.
“Defensively we improved and John Mitchell made a big impact. You can tell he loves the role – loves defence – and he came in with new ideas. He tweaked a few things and across the board now there’s a really good understanding of where we’re at going into a big World Cup year.
“We went to-to-toe with the best of the Southern Hemisphere and it’s going to be a hell of a Six Nations now with teams like Ireland, Wales and Scotland in really good form. These are the competitions that count now.”
Kruis also weighed in on England’s impressive second-row stocks as he attempts to lead Saracens to Premiership and Heineken Cup success, as well as cement himself in the international frame.
“England are blessed with second rows and the younger ones coming through are looking pretty sharp as well, but experience-wise I’ve got some good years under my belt now and I’m feeling very good,” Kruis said.
“My left ankle had been giving me issues for about a year-and-a-half so I had to miss the South Africa tour to get that sorted out. They seem to have done a good job and I felt I was getting back to some top form against New Zealand and South Africa.
“Longer injuries can leave a dent, but I feel fresher and, although there are still improvements I can make, I’m lucky to have been playing in some big games for club and country and hope I can be part of England’s plans moving forward.”
Kruis and Saracens take on Worcester this weekend and currently sit second on the Premiership table with nine wins from ten matches.