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'That is bizarre': Ellis Genge's blunt reaction to his first-half yellow card which he followed by scoring a try with bruising carries on his return

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

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Ellie Genge has labelled his first-half sin-binning by referee Luke Pearce as bizarre following a clear-out by the Leicester prop on Harlequins’ Jack Kenningham at a Welford Road ruck. When play initially stopped in the 27th minute on Saturday, the official brandished visiting winger Nathan Earle the yellow card for a deliberate knock-on which had prevented Nemani Nadolo from taking a pass near the try line.


However, before the referee got to restart play, Pearce was asked by TMO Tom Foley to review a breakdown intervention by Genge which had taken place prior to Earle’s deliberate knock-on. The referee was initially satisfied after reviewing the footage that nothing untoward had taken place at the ruck, but he then went on to change his mind. 

It resulted in the carding of Genge, a decision the prop forward was not at all happy with, and it led to the return of Earle as his yellow card was scrubbed out and he was cleared to play on without missing ten minutes in the bin at a time in the match where Leicester were leading 21-12 but had lost Dan Cole to the bin just a couple of minutes earlier, leaving them going down to just 13 players.

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A pent-up Genge channelled his anger excellently, though, returning from the bin just before the interval to score the Leicester bonus point try and his second of the game after he initially levelled James Lang on his first carry (Lang needed a HIA) before then burrowing past Danny Care and Marcus Smith on a pick and go at the line to score on 39 minutes. Here is how the yellow card conversation unfolded earlier between the match officials and what Genge bluntly said when he was eventually told to go off.

TMO FOLEY: I am about to show you a clear-out by Leicester No1. We’re just going to throw it up on the screen now.  

REFEREE PEARCE: Time off, please. Tom, we are seeing angles from the one side which possibly makes it look a little bit worse. Can we see a camera from this side of the field because we might see the actions of Genge that is he going into to wrap and clear the man out?


FOLEY: The clear-out live from my side looked a good legal clear-out. 

PEARCE: He is just a little unfortunate that he scraped past his head on the right side. Let’s just have another look just to box this off.   

FOLEY: We are just trying to find that angle. Here’s it comes. 

PEARCE: His arms are on the leg and the body so clearly that side is play on, so it is just on that far side that we need to make sure that we are being accurate enough.


FOLEY: There is a clear attempt to grasp, that is what we are saying, so we are just going to check the contact. 

PEARCE: Tom, my initial view here is that we are playing on because the far side camera is absolutely fine. He brushes past his head, he hasn’t aimed deliberately to smack the guy in the head. So my initial view is to play on, boys. 

FOLEY: Luke, there is clear contact with the head. I understand that it is a legal attempt to clear out but there is contact with the head with the right arm of Leicester No1.   

PEARCE: So this clearly can’t be play on because there is contact with the head. 

FOLEY: I don’t believe it to be a high degree of danger.

PEARCE: It’s not reckless, it’s not overly dangerous but there is contact with the head so we are talking a yellow card, aren’t we? 

FOLEY: Yes. 

PEARCE: So No1, please.

FOLEY: That happens before the deliberate knock-on as well, just be aware.

PEARCE: Can we line the Quins player up to come back on because this all happened before the deliberate knock-on?

PEARCE TO GENGE: Your effort is almost good enough but your right arm does clock him in the head, so that is a yellow card. It’s not a red. 

GENGE: That is bizarre.

PEARCE: I understand but it is a yellow card. 


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