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'It's just gold what these guys have done, both of them'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)

Pat Lam had declared himself hugely impressed by the way England front row duo Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler have taken the younger players at Bristol under their wing and helped accelerate their development in recent months. Tighthead Sinckler was a Bears signing in 2020, the Londoner joining from Harlequins, while the Bristolian loosehead Genge returned to his hometown club this summer after signing off as a Gallagher Premiership champion with Leicester.


Their impact on the field together was noticeable in last Saturday’s rollicking derby win over Bath in front of a bumper 20,000-plus home crowd at Ashton Gate. Bristol have paid the big bucks to Genge and Sinckler for them to produce big performances when it matters on the pitch, but the director of rugby Lam has delighted in the influence being wielded by the pair away from the public eye on a phalanx of young local talent.

“Our passion is the homegrown players. We did massive work in our academy a few years ago, they won the title last year and a lot of those boys have come through. We have got people like (No8) Macenzzie Duncan, (loosehead) Andrew Turner, (prop/hooker) Aaron Thompson, all these local boys that these boys [Genge and Sinckler] have taken under their wing.

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“We have got Jono Benz-Salomon and Aristot Benz-Salomon come in too, two young props. One is loosehead and the other tighthead and they have grown massively. Kyle and Ellis are inspiring and helping them. (Prop) George Kloska, another local boy, and (another prop) Jimmy Halliwell are coming through our underage.

“It’s just gold what these guys have done, both of them. If you look at Kyle and Elllis’ stories they are inspirational for these guys but to have every day on and off the field these guys pushing them and also these guys being an example to them… Ellis has shown the pathway for the local boys coming through and how you are going to have some tough times but you can get through it.


“Some of these boys that we have got do have similar backgrounds and Ellis has been an inspiration for them. It’s another one of the main reasons we brought him back and more importantly one of the more important reasons why he wanted to come back. He wants to help bring the local boys through.”


Asked to compare Genge and Sinckler, Lam added: “They are completely different but if there is one thing they are similar on, they are competitors. Absolutely competitors, fighters in that sense rather than being victims. Whatever the situation it is not going to define them.

“They have got lots of chapters in their story to go and they have got lots of experience of things. They have come through adversity that will not only make them great rugby players but certainly quality people.”


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