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'Ellis first came to me a few weeks ago' - Borthwick touches on Genge exit

By PA
Ellis Genge /PA

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Following his side’s victory over Connacht, Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick touched on the exit of England prop Ellis Genge from Welford Road.

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Borthwick was delighted as Tigers found a way to win after they maintained their unbeaten record with a hard-fought 29-23 Heineken Champions Cup victory over Connacht.

Tigers took this season’s winning run to 13 but it did not look likely at one stage as Connacht were – for large parts of the game – the better side and led 20-12 after 55 minutes.

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Leicester’s tries came from Nic Dolly, Bryce Hegarty, Freddie Steward and Hosea Saumaki as Hegarty kicked two conversions and a penalty, while Freddie Burns added a conversion.

Connacht captain Jack Carty scored 18 of their points with a try, two penalties, two conversions and a drop goal, while wing John Porch was also on the scoresheet with their first try.

Borthwick said: “They really challenged us today as they played a smart game in the first half. At that stage we made too many errors and gave away too many penalties and they capitalised on those.

“What was really pleasing was that our team were able to grab hold of the game and change it in the second half as I thought the players managed the situation really well and the last 30 minutes were pretty good.”

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Leicester won despite being without leading lights George Ford and skipper Ellis Genge, who are both departing at the end of the season to Sale and Bristol respectively.

Borthwick added: “Ellis first came to me a few weeks ago to indicate that he was considering returning to Bristol to be near his family.

“Personal reasons were explained to me and last week he confirmed the position. Nothing has changed; he is still a strong influence on the group and was terrific as a 24th man today.”

Connacht head coach Andy Friend displayed mixed emotions after the final whistle as his side continued their miserable run of results in England.

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In the professional era, Connacht have now lost 25 of their 29 games in England, having not tasted success since a victory at Worcester in the 2009-10 season.

Friend said: “There’s a lot of frustration in the dressing room as we came to win and not just get a bonus point.

“Things could have been different if we had executed better to take our opportunities and you know the likely outcome if you can’t get territory and concede yellow cards at Welford Road in the last 20 minutes.

“We showed we had a game plan to hurt teams and a lot of teams would be happy to come away from here with a bonus point.

“It was the biggest stage for some of the lads and there may have been a bit of nerves but we are OK with six points after our opening two games in Europe.”

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