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Rugby News

Borthwick proud of positive returnees

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Steve Borthwick says the England quartet of George Ford, Ellis Genge, George Martin and Ben Youngs have hit the ground running since arriving back in Leicester from international duty.

"There has been lots of chatter about things pre-match ā€“ I saw Ellis being very composed and focused upon the performance the team needed from him ā€“ and he really delivered for the almost 70 minutes he was on the field"

Steve Borthwick on Ellis Genge

Speaking at the club’s Oval Park training ground, where the side are preparing for a return to European competition on Saturday night at Mattioli Woods Welford Road against Connacht Rugby, Borthwick praised the professionalism of the four Tigers.

"I have been really impressed by the way they have come in and hit the ground running,” he said.

"It’s a credit to them as professionals for coming in after two months away from the environment and immediately adding to what we are doing.”

Ford and Genge started last weekend’s win over Newcastle Falcons, while Martin came off the bench during the second-half of the 26-12 victory and Borthwick shared his thoughts on the trio’s contributions in Round 15.

"Look at the performances you saw from those guys at the weekend,” said the Tigers head coach.

"George (Ford) was in control on Saturday against Falcons and led the side around the field very well.

"I think Ellis played one of the best games he has for Leicester against Newcastle and recorded numbers you don’t see often for a loose head prop.

"There has been lots of chatter about things pre-match – I saw Ellis being very composed and focused upon the performance the team needed from him – and he really delivered for the almost 70 minutes he was on the field.

"He carried well, was integral to our set piece dominance and put in a huge effort in defence on Saturday.”

While Ford, for the full 80 minutes, and Genge, just shy of the entire game, started in their return to club rugby, Leicester and England’s newest international was injected back in to the Tigers back from the bench.

Martin, who made his Test debut in the final round of this season’s Six Nations campaign, came on as a replacement in the back-row just shy of the hour mark at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

"George (Martin) hasn’t played a lot of rugby in the past month and, at only 19 years of age, came back in to our group hungry to get out there and rip in with his team mates,” said Borthwick.

Meanwhile, the fourth and final member of the returning quartet, Ben Youngs, was given an “extra weekend” off after playing the most minutes during the international window.

"Ben was really keen to play straight away and I made the decision for him to have an extra weekend of rest,” said the Tigers head coach.

"He loves Leicester Tigers, cares deeply about the club and is an important leader within our squad.”

As part of the agreement between Premiership Rugby clubs and England Rugby, players to have featured in the 2021 Six Nations require two matches off after returning until the conclusion of the 2020/21 season. 

Speaking about his plans for the four players rest periods, Borthwick said: “Ben has taken one of his, obviously, but otherwise we will look at it on an individual basis as time goes on and do what we believe is best.”

“Right now, it’s great to have all four of our England players back, contributing and excited to be back at Oval Park, adding to this journey we are on as a club.”

Borthwick names his Tigers team for Saturday evening’s showdown with Connacht on Friday, April 2 at 12.00pm and you can see it first on the Official Tigers App.