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Fast learner finds his feet with the Tigers

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Ellis Genge hasn't wasted any time in making an impression in a Tigers shirt. So much of an impression in fact that he is now an England international. You wouldn't have predicted that just a few months ago.

Back in February, the former England Under-20s back-rower was a prop waiting patiently for an opportunity at Championship club Bristol. Then, with resources stretched at Tigers, came a call from Richard Cockerill and the chance to make a loan move to Leicester.
Genge is quoted as saying he was looking forward to the opportunity of learning his craft while “carrying tackle bags for four months”. Instead, he learned on the job, in the way Fraser Balmain did in his breakthrough season in 2014/15 and Harry Thacker did so well during 2015/16.
He did enough in training to make the coaches think he was worth a chance and Cockerill threw him in for a debut at Wasps. Unfortunately, the game ended in defeat, as did his second appearance at Sale. But young Genge bounced back to play off the bench in the win over Worcester at Welford Road. He was also particularly prominent in the closing stages of the Round 22 trip to Bath, sitting down England prop Davy Wilson in one rampage on halfway and taking three defenders to bring him down in another carry nearer to the tryline.
It was enough to earn a place on the bench in the Premiership semi-final at Saracens, when his powerful carrying, coupled with some useful footwork, preceded the announcement of a call-up to the England ranks.
That is a rapid rise in anyone’s book.
The fact that Eddie Jones admits to not knowing much about him was hardly a slur. There is not a lot to learn in one start and four cameo appearances in the top flight.
Top-flight rugby is all new to Genge and he has not even been registered in Europe so far in his career, let alone locked horns with the likes of Toulon, Racing, Leinster or Clermont. So Test rugby is a massive step, but England head coach Jones likes an ‘edginess’ in his squad and has never been afraid of upsetting anyone.
Genge does not appear to be a young man who is overawed when he looks opposition in the eye on the rugby pitch, nor to back down from the challenge. And that can take you a long way in rugby. Especially in the front row.
The tour to Australia will be a big learning curve, but he’s already proved an ideal student.