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Byline: ALEX SPINK Rugby Correspondent

JAMIE GEORGE warmed up for his showdown with Dylan Hartley by scoring the first try hat-trick of his career.

The England pair go headto-head on Sunday when George's Saracens open their European Champions Cup defence at Hartley's Northampton.

George has yet to start for his country despite being firstchoice for the British & Irish Lions throughout their drawn series with New Zealand. Blocking his path is England captain Hartley, but the young pretender served notice he is up for a fight with three of his side's four tries in a win that sends Saracens top of the Premiership.

Team boss Mark McCall said: "The next couple of weeks are important for Jamie to get himself into Eddie's mind.

"We're playing Northampton next week when Dylan will be starting. It is an important game for him. He is obviously playing well."

England coach Eddie Jones was at Allianz Park to see George finish off three driving mauls against a Wasps team blighted by injury.

Significantly, he has made no guarantees to Hartley, publicly at least - telling his captain that "every time he comes in it's like an audition".

Jones will just be pleased he has two high-quality options to choose from for England's opening autumn mission against Argentina.

Players are dropping like flies this season as changes to the laws of the game greatly increase the number of collisions in each match.

Wasps were shorn of 15 players yesterday as they lost four in a row for the first time since March 2014.

This latest defeat drops last season's Premiership finalists to third from bottom.

As if things could not get worse, they are scheduled to open their Champions Cup account on Friday.

"When your luck's down, everyone kicks you in the nuts," sighed Wasps boss Dai Young. "If the turnaround was any shorter we'd have to go straight from here."

McCall blasted Premiership and Euro organisers over their rivals' schedule, which he condemned as "grossly unfair". "Between Prem Rugby and EPCR you'd think they would sort things out there. I really feel sorry for Dai and Wasps in that regard," he said.

But compassion stopped there as Sarries won easily, helped by Wasps shooting themselves in the foot.

First they coughed up a lineout from which Chris Wyles scored, then they turned their backs on a penalty and George made them pay.

SARACENS - Tries: George 3, Wyles. Cons: Lozowski 3. Pens: Lozowski 4.

WASPS - Tries: Moore, J Willis, Bassett. Cons: Miller 2.


SMILING ASSASSIN Saracens' star George could not hide his delight as he scored three tries

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 9, 2017
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