Ellis Genge could forgive but not forget having his nose ‘splatted’ in a training ground bust-up.
At Twickenham on Saturday he got even with the Georgian forwards who sparked last year’s infamous scrum brawl in Oxford.
England pointedly chose to go after the visitors in their area of strength, doing a number on one of Europe’s most renowned packs to go top of Nations Cup Group A.
Jamie George cashed in on England's forward superiority, becoming the first Red Rose hooker to score a hat-trick of tries and leaving boss Eddie Jones to declare: “We won the most important contest of the game.
“In every game of rugby there’s a key contest you have to win," he added. "Psychologically we wanted to take the scrum away from Georgia.”
Nobody enjoyed the set-piece set-to more than prop Genge, who had been in the thick of it when the balloon went up in Oxford.
“There’s no bad blood,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for those boys and I’ll always shake their hands after, irrespective of whether they’ve splatted my nose or not!
“To be honest I got the frustration out there and then. We all know we can’t throw haymakers or anything like that in a game, so there’s no point thinking about it too much.
“But did we want to prove a point after what happened in Oxford? Yeah, to a degree.”
England opted to exact revenge by legal means, turning down kickable penalties to deliver payback through their scrum. It proved fruitful if not always easy on the eye.
“We tried to match them up front and we did a good job of it,” said Genge. “It is nice for me because a lot of critics say my area of strength is not in the tight when it’s p**sing down and you are going to the well with scrums.”
Genge did admit to having had “a straightener in the car park…to sort it out” with Shalva Mamukashvili when the Georgian hooker joined him at Leicester in March.
But he added: “When you've dealt with the dark arts in the front row, you show a lot of mutual respect. The Georgian lads are good players."
England’s attention now turns to Andy Farrell's Ireland, who easily beat Wales in the tournament opener on Friday night.
In a clash likely to decide the pool winner that advances to next month’s Twickenham final, Jones will demand his players raise their game.
“It’s a massive step up,” he said. “You’ve just got to look at the world rankings. Georgia are ranked 12, Italy are 14th and Ireland are in the top five. It’s like going from playing Kei Nishikori to Novak Djokovic.
“The last two games haven’t helped our preparations, whereas we’re playing a team who have had a great preparation against Wales and France.
“I don’t think I can get in Ireland’s heads. We’re going to have to prepare really well.”
ENGLAND – Tries: Willis, George 3, Daly, Robson. Cons: Farrell 5.
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