‘Ellis Genge took a pay cut to join Bristol’ – Pat Lam

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  • Ellis Genge
    English rugby union footballer

Ellis Genge turned down the prospect of earning more money at Leicester Tigers to return to his home-town club, Bristol Bears, next season, according to Bristol’s director of rugby Pat Lam.

England front-row Genge, who has captained Leicester during their unbeaten run to the top of the Premiership table this season, caught the Tigers by surprise by declining to activate an extra year on his contract.

Instead, he is heading to Bristol where he launched his professional career in 2013 and to unite with fellow England prop Kyle Sinckler as part of a formidable front-row.

Keen to return home

And Lam revealed that the hard running loosehead is taking a pay cut because the pull of returning home trumped the money on offer at Welford Road.

“If he had stayed at Leicester it would have been a lot more financially beneficial for him,” Lam said.

“He has taken a huge pay cut to come back, but money was not his motivating reason. His motivation was about coming home and inspiring the next generation.

“We had a discussion. I thought it was only going to be an hour and it was three hours. We just talked about life and when I walked out, it was dark.

“What struck was his love for this place and I was honest with him, I don’t have what he’s being paid at Leicester, but he was still determined to come over.”

Genge has risen to become one of three England vice-captains after winning the first of his 31 caps in 2016, despite hailing from the tough Knowle West council estate in south Bristol.

He runs ‘Baby Rhino’, a company that offers coaching clinics and mentoring to young aspiring players.

“I’ve been in Bristol for four years and I know most of the areas around here. He talked about his life and his desire to come home,” Lam said.

“He felt like he wanted to put on the jersey and make a difference for the people that he knows. He comes home lots.

“I didn’t realise that the kids who can’t afford to do the (Baby Rhino) summer camps and holiday programmes, he funds them and comes in and does it for free because he believes everyone deserves an opportunity like he’s had.

“It’s really inspirational and you can feel his passion for this place, which is awesome. It’s exactly what I love about him.

“He’s a world-class player and you could put any number on his back, so he will fit our game perfectly and add real value.”

Will Muir given four-week ban

Meanwhile, Bath wing Will Muir has been slapped with a four-week ban for making contact with the eye area of Leinster and Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier.

The incident, not picked up by match officials, happened in the first half of last week’s first-round match against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.

Muir was cited in the match’s aftermath, and a disciplinary hearing upheld the charge after finding that Muir should have been dismissed for a reckless act.

The panel imposed a mid-range sanction of six weeks, which was reduced by two weeks because of the 26-year-old’s inexperience.

The article ‘Ellis Genge took a pay cut to join Bristol’ – Pat Lam appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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