England tour blow as Ellis Genge ruled out of Japan and New Zealand games

England tour blow as Ellis Genge ruled out of Japan and New Zealand games

Ellis Genge will miss England’s summer tour to Japan and New Zealand with a calf injury, further opening the door for Harlequins prop Fin Baxter’s first senior call-up.

Front-rower Genge hobbled out of Bristol’s 53-28 season-closing Premiership win at Harlequins on May 18 and could be sidelined for as long as 10 weeks.

Genge’s absence will prove a sizeable blow to England and boss Steve Borthwick, who leans on his former Leicester captain to set the Red Rose men’s mental tone for their physicality and aggression.

England will name their first training squad ahead of their three-Test summer tour on Sunday but now Genge is expected to be forced out.

Head coach Borthwick will name his full England touring party on June 10, once all the Premiership play-offs are complete.

Quins’ fast-developing loosehead Baxter was already pencilled in for a maiden senior England call this summer, and now the 22-year-old’s name should end up inked onto the Red Rose squad list.

Genge has amassed 62 England caps since his 2016 debut, but has developed from a raw, confrontational prospect into a rounded but still dominant force.

Assessing Genge’s injury straight after that win at Harlequins, Bristol boss Pat Lam said: “He popped a calf in the scrum. We don’t know how bad it is, but for him to come off and be in a moon boot afterwards is a sign.

“We don’t know how long it will be. Hopefully for England it won’t be as bad as it looks.”

Unfortunately for England, as well as Genge, the injury has turned out to be significant enough for him to have to miss the summer tour.

England will face Eddie Jones’ Japan in Tokyo on June 22, before two Tests against the All Blacks, in Dunedin on July 6 and Auckland on July 13.

Harlequins’ senior loosehead Joe Marler should be in line to tour too, though will be afforded the headspace to step away by Borthwick if required.Academy graduate Baxter has come of age and then some this season, delivering robust, technical scrummaging, allied with alert and impactful physical interventions and subtle touches in the loose.