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England in Jersey: 'Sincks doesn't get anywhere enough grief'

By Liam Heagney

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Ellis Genge has hailed the spirit of the rejuvenated England squad that has assembled in Jersey this week. The 34 players picked by Eddie Jones to prepare on the Channel Island for the upcoming matches versus Tonga, Australia and South Africa include the recalled Joe Marler, who opted out of the Six Nations, and a host of new players newly capped in the summer such as Adam Radwan. 

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Genge was vice-captain for those July wins over the USA and Canada, and the combination of the best of that youthful squad along with seasoned England players has reportedly generated a good atmosphere at the Jersey camp. For instance, a tweeted video by Marler playing a horn-blowing gym prank on Kyle Sinckler went viral while downtime activity in the sea also lightened the mood and helped the bevvy of newcomers settle in well as England look to properly move on from the fifth-place finish last March in the Six Nations.  

“Marler tends to do it [pranks] a bit more than we do,” said Genge, the Leicester skipper, when quizzed about the bonding going on at this latest England camp. “He is some character, Joe. He is good to have around man and Sincks [Sinckler] doesn’t get anywhere enough grief as he should so I am happy he did that.”

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As for the Wednesday high jinx on the high sea, Genge explained: “I am not a very good swimmer so I almost opted out of it to be honest and said I don’t really fancy paddling a mile out to sea but we were all in it together and I was surprised I made it back. I wasn’t offering any advice on swimming techniques. The boys were getting tired and I was on the back and I could see when they would stop swimming so I said, ‘Change the stroke’. 

“Everyone was class. Our group literally did very well. We won by about ten minutes which is a lot. We were the heaviest group as well, it was class. Honestly, I really enjoyed myself. I am a terrible swimmer so I was very pessimistic going into the water but coming out the other end I got a big endorphin hit from winning so I guess there were no negatives to come from it.”

Switching to the overhauled make-up of the latest England squad, Genge remarked about the enthusiasm the younger, newer players have brought to the set-up. “Massively, it is a different energy. I remember when I was 20 and 21 years old as well – you would come into these environments and you never really expect much or I definitely didn’t in terms of playing. I had a lot to learn. But you see these players coming in like Radwan, Freddie Steward, those boys, they are the bee’s knees, aren’t they, so they have a different situation to when I was a bit younger.

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“They have got this nice buzz about them, I don’t know whether or not it is because they are backs. The Geordie boys (like Radwan) are warmly welcomed, they are funny lads and all the other youngsters as well, I love the way they contribute, a nice little buzz, mix it up.

“I try and do that [make an effort to mix] with everyone regardless of age, we are not ageists in this group, but I’d say out of all of them weirdly enough, Radwan, he is a weird little character, so I get on very well with him, I keep him close to me.”

Switching specifically to rugby, the exclusion of Mako Vunipola suggests Genge is in pole position to be first-choice England loosehead next month, but he refused to take that bait. “No idea. You are asking the wrong person. You would have to ask Eddie. I don’t pick the team unfortunately but I am contributing how I can and Mako is a world-class player, as we know, so he can come in a few weeks.”

Another high profile squad omission was George Ford, who lost out to Marcus Smith. Genge has some words of consolation for his in-form Leicester teammate. “George has been playing brilliantly for Leicester, that was all I thought,” said the prop when he heard the squad announcement on October 18. 

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“I don’t think anything about England, it’s never a given. I was chatting to one of the boys the other day, you never know when it is your last so make the most of it in the meantime and George is making the most of it on the pitch in the meantime for Leicester, so I am sure he will reap his rewards eventually if he keeps that form up.”

 

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England in Jersey: 'Sincks doesn't get anywhere enough grief'

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