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The Ben Youngs 'good point' driving on England training this week

By Liam Heagney
n Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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England prop Ellis Genge has explained why Eddie Jones’ revamped squad has gone to great lengths this week in Jersey to ensure that all 34 players are on the same page and have built up a burgeoning relationship heading into November’s three-game schedule. Tonga, Australia and South Africa are lying in wait for the English at Twickenham on successive Saturdays next month and preparations ramped up with the five-day visit to the Channel Island. 

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The squad assembled by Jones is mostly a mixture of the still-in-favour players who were involved in the fifth-place Six Nations campaign earlier this year and those rookies who caught the Australian’s eye during the two-match summer series when a bus-load of newcomers were blooded. 

However, there have been further changes in recent weeks. Jones called in a squad of 45 for a two-day mini-camp in London in September that featured more newcomers and even when that number was cut to 34 for this week’s latest gathering, they were still some new faces which left Genge again busy making first-time introductions.  

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Asked about how the altered England squad has been gelling, Genge said: “For example Tommy Freeman, I had never met him so it is a week to get involved and learn a bit more about each other. Ben Youngs made a good point at the end of training (on Thursday). He just said, ‘Boys, our intensity is brilliant but we have just got to get these little relationships firing a little bit more, to know how each other plays and operates’.

Like I know when Ben is going to snipe and stuff but I might not know that about Harry Randall. I think I do but that is just an example. It’s trying to put those finishing touches on the relationship with the boys and we will do well.”

What breaks the ice in developing these bonds? “A good coffee goes a long way,” continued Genge. “For example, I see Tommy Freeman and he is carving it up at Saints making all these eight-metre breaks but it doesn’t mean much to me. But for me to be able to sit down and chat to him, find out a little more about him, I know that he is going to go that extra mile for me when we are on the pitch because if you play with people you don’t like and don’t really give a f*** about then you are not going to work hard for them. 

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“So that is something we are trying to put an emphasis on this week, really trying to get to know each other in those environments where you have got to work hard because when I was on that paddleboard (England had an at-sea activity on Wednesday), I didn’t want to do but I could see the other boys grafting and I wanted to do it for them so it is just another way of skinning a cat I guess.”

 

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