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'I love Harry Wells': Why Leicester enormously respect their lock

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Leicester boss Steve Borthwick has outlined his enormous respect for Harry Wells, the 28-year-old forward who has followed up his England debut last July by becoming an inspiring presence in the Tigers team that has won all 15 matches so far this season. Wells has featured in 14 of those wins, his only absence coming in a Premiership Cup match in November.

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Not only has he starred at second row but he has also demonstrated his versatility and was packing down in the back row last weekend versus Newcastle in an emergency when Borthwick’s resources were stretched. He will now start against Wasps this Sunday at blindside. 

Ex-England assistant Borthwick is usually a stoic figure, seldom betraying his emotions, but he opened up this week ahead of Sunday’s league derby when asked about the contribution of Wells at Leicester.

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“I love Harry Wells,” gushed Borthwick, who took over at Leicester in the summer of 2020 ahead of the post-lockdown resumption of the suspended 2019/20 campaign. He inherited a squad used to losing but it has since been transformed and the influence of Wells hasn’t gone unnoticed.     

“He is just a tremendous bloke, a brilliant family man and his hunger to do well and improve are incredible. This is a guy who has been playing a good number of years and I have asked him to go and try some things that are a bit different and I have asked him to look at things in a bit of a different way and he has embraced that. 

“That deserves enormous respect but the thing that gets me the most, the thing that I love the most about Harry would be how much he cares about Leicester Tigers. It struck me almost immediately that this guy absolutely loves this club and if you have got people like that it is a good foundation to work on.”

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Reflecting on how Eddie Jones took an interest in Wells and handed him an England Test debut six months ago, Borthwick added: “I was so, so happy for him, so proud of him and so happy for his family, his wife and his boys. To play for your country, I remember the first time I played for England and I will never ever forget it. 

I am proud of all the boys who play. I want them all to play for their respective countries and I am especially proud, clearly, of players playing for England. For him to do that and achieve that dream I was so proud of him.”

LEICESTER (vs Wasps, Sunday)
15. Freddie Steward; 14. Harry Potter, 13. Matt Scott, 12. Dan Kelly, 11. Guy Porter; 10. George Ford, 9. Jack van Poortvliet; 1. Ellis Genge (capt), 2. Julian Montoya, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Calum Green, 5. Eli Snyman, 6. Harry Wells, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Ollie Chessum. Reps: 16. Charlie Clare, 17. James Whitcombe, 18. Joe Heyes, 19. Kini Murimurivalu, 20. Nic Dolly, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Freddie Burns, 23. Matias Moroni

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