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'He's taken a huge pay cut' - Ellis Genge to Bristol not about money

By PA
Ellis Genge /Getty Images

Ellis Genge rejected the prospect of earning more money at Leicester to join his home-town club Bristol next season, according to Bears director of rugby Pat Lam.

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Genge dropped a bombshell on Steve Borthwick’s resurgent Gallagher Premiership leaders, the team he has led with distinction this season, by declining to activate an extra year on his contract.

Instead, the 26-year-old is returning to the club where he launched his professional career in 2013 to unite with fellow England prop Kyle Sinckler in a formidable front row.

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And Lam revealed that the hard running loosehead is taking a pay cut because the pull of returning home trumped the money on offer at Welford Road.

“If he had stayed at Leicester it would have been a lot more financially beneficial for him,” Lam said.

“He has taken a huge pay cut to come back, but money was not his motivating reason. His motivation was about coming home and inspiring the next generation.

“We had a discussion. I thought it was only going to be an hour and it was three hours. We just talked about life and when I walked out, it was dark.

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“What struck was his love for this place and I was honest with him, I don’t have what he’s being paid at Leicester, but he was still determined to come over.”

Genge has risen to become one of three England vice-captains after winning the first of his 31 caps in 2016, despite hailing from the tough Knowle West council estate in south Bristol.

He runs ‘Baby Rhino’, a company that offers coaching clinics and mentoring to young aspiring players.

“I’ve been in Bristol for four years and I know most of the areas around here. He talked about his life and his desire to come home,” Lam said.

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“He felt like he wanted to put on the jersey and make a difference for the people that he knows. He comes home lots.

“I didn’t realise that the kids who can’t afford to do the (Baby Rhino) summer camps and holiday programmes, he funds them and comes in and does it for free because he believes everyone deserves an opportunity like he’s had.

“It’s really inspirational and you can feel his passion for this place, which is awesome. It’s exactly what I love about him.

“He’s a world-class player and you could put any number on his back, so he will fit our game perfectly and add real value.”

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Poorfour 3 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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