Ellis Genge certainly seems to have settled his differences for now with Leicester, the England prop going from being one of the players who potentially could have left the club due to the controversial permanent salary reductions to having that blow soothed by a contract extension agreement.
While Telusa Veainu became the first of five exiting Leicester players to sort out his future elsewhere on Tuesday, the Tongan back securing a three-year deal with Stade Francais, the Tigers have been in the process of announcing a slew of contract extensions.
To make up for the less lucrative salary terms on offer at Welford Road, Leicester have been offering extended contracts to multiple players to lighten the mood at the financially troubled club. George Worth, Sam Aspland-Robinson, Tommy Reffell, Jordan Olowofela and Ben White all put pen to paper on Monday.
South African back row Hanro Liebenberg, Samoan prop Nephi Leatigaga, Argentine prop Facundo Gigena and English second row Harry Wells following suit on Tuesday, while prop Genge, out-half George Ford, scrum-half Ben Youngs and midfielder Jaco Taute were among the further deals confirmed on Wednesday. The length of all these extensions remained unspecified by the club, though.
Genge had been outspoken in recent months about player salaries and welfare across the Gallagher Premiership, toying with the idea of setting up a new players union, Rugby Players Epoch, separate from the existing Rugby Players’ Association.
The club has agreed a new deal with international @EllisGenge.
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) July 8, 2020
However, despite his ambitions securing the support of 128 players, he eventually decided to put his plans on ice after becoming disillusioned with the laborious challenge of having to individually negotiate with all 13 stakeholder Premiership clubs. “(RPE) is not happening at the moment,” he said at the time. “If we find an opportunity to kick-start it again, then we will. For the time being, it’s a case of (players) dealing with their club independently.”
Genge’s own negotiations with Leicester resulted in an extension, but at reduced terms to what he had been on. “Ellis is a unique individual who we love having at Leicester Tigers,” said Geordan Murphy, the director of rugby. “I said in January, when he last re-signed, that what most excites me about Ellis is that he still has so much left to do in the game and so much growth in him as a player.
“You forget he is only 25, given what he has already achieved, and if he continues on the path he is on, with mentors like Boris Stankovich, Brett Deacon and now Steve Borthwick here in Leicester, it’s exciting to think about what we will get to see Ellis do in a Tigers shirt.
“He is passionate about this club, committed to his team-mates and what we are building at Tigers and to have him extend his deal, among more than 15 other players this week, is promising and exciting for everyone in Leicester.”
Tigers also agreed on terms with England out-half Ford and Test scrum-half Youngs. “George is one of the world’s best and to have him extend his contract, showing a belief in what we are building here and the vision we have for Leicester Tigers, is exciting,” said Murphy.
“He is as professional a player as I have seen in my career, as both a player and coach and one of the senior leaders at our club. George finds ways, every day, to improve himself as a player and represents what we believe is integral here in Leicester. There is a lot of hard work ahead for all of us at Tigers and we see George playing a key role, on and off the pitch, in our future.
“It’s pleasing to see Ben commit to the club long-term. He is one of the world’s best in his position and to have Ben commit to our plan and vision here in Leicester is exciting for everyone. Ben loves Leicester Tigers and, like all of us at this club, wants to see it get back to where it belongs.”
Regarding South African Taute, who joined in 2019 from Munster, the director of rugby added: “Jaco quickly became a leading figure in our changing room after arriving last summer. He is a student of the game and spends a lot of time working on improving himself and others, on and off the pitch.
“Jaco has earned this extension through hard work and a commitment to the club after only a year in Leicester and we are pleased to have him here for even longer now.”
ICYMI: Ellis Genge on whose advice he sounds out most – “I wouldn’t say I will have one mentor throughout my whole career. Kyle Traynor gives me advice. Danny Cipriani has given me advice… I speak to Joe Marler a lot. I speak to Kyle Sinckler a lot.”https://t.co/t0vJOxSIfg
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 11, 2020
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