Ellis Genge talks up Steve Borthwick’s ‘incredible’ work at champions Leicester

The Tigers head coach has helped turn Leicester into a major force again.

Ellis Genge, left, and his Leicester team-mate Hanro Liebenberg with the Premiership trophy (Tim Goode/PA)
Ellis Genge, left, and his Leicester team-mate Hanro Liebenberg with the Premiership trophy (Tim Goode/PA)

Leicester captain Ellis Genge has hailed Steve Borthwick’s “incredible” work behind the Tigers reclaiming a place at the top table of English rugby.

Nine years after they last won the title, Leicester are kings of the domestic game once more.

It has taken Borthwick – the red-hot favourite as England boss Eddie Jones’ eventual successor – just two seasons to transform the club since he took over as head coach.

When he arrived in the east Midlands, Leicester were almost down and out, finding himself having to pick up a club only spared relegation in 2019 because Saracens were demoted because of their repeated salary cap breaches.

Genge, who will join his home-town club Bristol next season, has accompanied Borthwick every step of the way, culminating in a stirring 15-12 victory over Gallagher Premiership final opponents Saracens at Twickenham.

“Steve has come in and he has reinstalled that belief, that work ethic,” Genge said.

“It had probably got a bit complacent, to be honest, in 2018, and we got what we deserved.

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick has taken the Tigers back to the top (Isaac Parkin/PA)

“But you reap the reward if you put the work in, and that is what we have done. What you have seen is a product of all the hard work.

“Steve has been incredible. He hates hearing it, so I don’t really enjoy saying it!

“He gets really awkward – it’s quite funny, actually – but he is a class operator. You don’t come in and turn a team from sixth last season to winning it the year after.

“I have loved every minute. We have worked relentlessly behind the scenes.

“Wind, rain, shine, we’ve been out there on the paddock doing the hard work, and it is just class to see the rewards. It has not sunk in yet.”

Genge vividly remembers the tough times at Leicester, which are underlined by them winning just 13 of 44 league games across the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

“I kind of understood it when they (Leicester supporters) were throwing their season tickets at us when we were 11th,” he added.

“They have been incredible in my time here, and made me feel at home. This (title) is what they deserve. They are die-hard fans, and this is what you get when you stick by a team.

I don’t want to dig up bad memories too much, but it is class to see the resurgence

Leicester captain Ellis Genge

“We lost to Exeter the first game of the (2018-19) season, 40-6, and then we got drilled at home two or three times. It was bleak.

“I obviously understand the emotions. I don’t want to dig up bad memories too much, but it is class to see the resurgence.

“Steve always speaks about it. Success doesn’t go like a big wave all the way up. I’ve seen the highs and the lows.

“I don’t think there is ever a magic potion. We thought we were working hard, but we weren’t.

Leicester’s head of physical performance Aled Walters has made an impact (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Steve and Aled Walters (Leicester’s head of physical performance) came in, and we had a vile pre-season. No-one had worked that hard for years – we hadn’t seen what graft was.

“Steve and Aled don’t like going on about it, but I am not afraid to tell you we have worked relentlessly to get to where we are.

“We know we are fit, we graft, and no-one is going to drop off. We came away with the trophy.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in