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LTTV

Veainu and Genge open up on impact of abuse

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In the changing room at the club's Oval Park training ground, Tigers duo Telusa Veainu and Ellis Genge sit down for a chat with LTTV to discuss the mood within the squad, the impact of social media on today's players and the boost Veainu's return provides to the group ahead of taking on Bristol in Round 20 of this season's Premiership.

Ellis Genge says the away win over Newcastle has "sparked" something in the Leicester Tigers squad and the playing group is "buzzing" ahead of the Gallagher Premiership fixture against Bristol Bears at Welford Road on Saturday (April 26) afternoon.

Speaking to LTTV at the club's training ground, Genge said: "The win against Newcastle sparked some excitement in the boys ... everyone is buzzing."

Alongside the England front rower was Telusa Veainu, who is in line to make his long-awaited return to Premiership action after seven months and Genge says the Tongan's inclusion energises the squad.

"He brings energy ... I enjoying playing with him," said Genge.

Speaking about his return, which comes after coming through a 15-minute spell in last weekend's Premiership Shield fixture away to Northampton unscathed, Veainu said: "I felt really good to get the ball in hand and run around."

"That's where you most enjoy it ... the reason we play rugby is to get out there, show your skills and challenge yourself.

"Now I am back in the first team, it's about nailing my individual role."

The pair have both spent extended periods on the sidelines with injury during the 2018/19 campaign and, while not taking part on the pitch, were busy on social media in defending their team-mates against abuse which has unfortunately become a constant from some 'fans' during the disappointing season.

When pressed on the subject, Genge and Veainu opened up and shared a rare insight in to the impact of the unwarranted abuse on not only the players but their families and those supporters who question the efforts of players - and why the pair felt the need to speak up.

"When you get directed at and cop a load of flack, it's quite rich," said Genge.

"You take a load of grief from fans ... and they sleep easy at night, but don't understand they're upsetting the boys and we've got all families, who read what you say about players.

"I've had family members message me about some stuff that has been said.

"Sometimes it hits you quite deep.

"We're all on the same road, we're trying to achieve the same thing."

Veainu added: "The last six months have been the hardest for me mentally... we only have each other and our families, that's it."

"I can't sit by and watch people have a go at the boys for their effort.

"The bigger picture is that the boys are giving it their best ... I'm always going to stick up for the boys."

Watch the full interview with Genge and Veainu below on LTTV.