'Natural fit' Genge receives backing to be the England captain
The leadership credentials of Ellis Genge have received an emphatic endorsement from the most capped England player as contingency plans are drawn up in the event Eddie Jones is robbed of his two established captains. Courtney Lawes and Owen Farrell are recovering from the concussions sustained on club duty that have made them a doubt for the series opener against Argentina at Twickenham on November 6.
Neither player has travelled to England’s training camp in Jersey and while they could yet face the Pumas, Jones is considering alternatives to the pair who took charge against Australia in July when Lawes acted as skipper and Farrell was vice-captain.
When both Lions were absent in the 2022 Guinness Six Nations, Tom Curry took charge, but there is growing support for Genge to continue his transformation from the rough diamond who joined Leicester in 2016 before returning to hometown club Bristol as one of Jones’ most valued England performers.
Tigers scrum-half Ben Youngs, who has made a record 117 appearances for England, rates prop Genge highly. “When Ellis first arrived at Leicester he was a rough diamond. He had all this raw power and talent which needed shaping in how he played,” said Youngs.
“He would do these crazy rhino runs but to see what he is now, he is totally different. He is one of the best looseheads in the world, if not the best. His consistency of ball carrying is constant. That is huge growth. Sometimes you have to tip your hat to people because they go and find that growth by working hard.
“When you are blessed with that power and aggression you have still got to work out how to use it effectively and he has done that. The Ellis that turned up at Tigers compared to the one that is here today are very different characters. In terms of leadership, he speaks very well. He is very calm, very measured. He has got a great feel for people in terms of how he talks and interacts.
“The way Leicester play you need someone at the coal face as captain and Ellis is that through the scrums and how he carries and tackles. It was a natural fit for him, but he also made it his own and has grown week by week into that leadership role. He would probably be the first to admit that he is trying to improve in that area, but he is doing a wonderful job.”
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