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'What I don't think people will ever focus on is that he is getting really, really good': The Ellis Genge improvement a blind eye is being turned to

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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An England World Cup winner had suggested that the colourful persona of Leicester prop Ellis Genge and the attention it attracts from both his followers and detractors has resulted in the most important thing about the front-rower often getting overlooked – the general improvement of his game around the pitch in recent times.


The 26-year-old was in the headlines again earlier this month after he was snubbed by Lions coach Warren Gatland for the 2021 tour to South Africa. Mako Vunipola, England’s more regular loosehead, was instead chosen to travel, a decision that lent itself to the impression that Genge has struggled to take his game on newer levels.

Ben Kay, though, doesn’t agree with that assessment, believing instead that Genge has recently become the best version of himself yet and is doing plenty of things during matches that he isn’t getting enough recognition for.

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Much like Kyle Sinckler and the impressive way the Bristol tighthead has bounced back from his Lions omission, Genge has got stuck in unshackled with Leicester and was a compelling two-try force in last Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership win over Harlequins ahead of this Friday night’s Challenge Cup final versus Montpellier at Twickenham.  

Twice a Heineken Cup winner for the Tigers as a second row, Kay will hope to be commentating on a Leicester victory when he takes the mic for BT Sport in London and he is expecting Genge to be a player who can make his presence felt against a power-packed Montpellier who did a semi-final number three weeks ago on Bath at The Rec. 

“Ellis Genge has got a unique skill set and a unique personality and that is great for the club,” enthused Kay to RugbyPass. “What I don’t think people will ever focus on is that he is getting really, really good at some of the core skills in his position as well. So as a scrummager, I know speaking to scrum coaches that he has hugely progressed that area of his game now and that is a big part. 


“When you talk about Leicester’s ability to win penalties in the middle of the field with their scrum you’d probably think it’s Dan Cole but it’s not just Dan Cole now, Ellis Genge is really to the forefront there. He is great value for the club and hopefully winning this (cup final) and seeing a big future is ahead at Leicester will mean that he wants to stay.” 

Genge’s off-field comments are often criticised but Kay has no problem with the front-rower being the outspoken individual that he is as the sport would be all the poorer if the prop went with the general flow and instead opted to say nothing about anything like quite a lot of rugby players.  

“Even if you don’t agree with him he doesn’t have to be right. He is not sort of telling everyone else that they should think how he thinks. He is just being honest about what he thinks. You want a bit of fun on the pitch, you don’t want sort of staid and boring. Working in the media the last thing you want is someone you have got nothing to write about because they will talk for half an hour without actually saying anything.”

  • BT Sport 1 will show Leicester Tigers vs Montpellier in the final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup live from Twickenham on Friday, May 21, from 7pm

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'What I don't think people will ever focus on is that he is getting really, really good': The Ellis Genge improvement a blind eye is being turned to