Premiership: Ellis Genge praises Steve Borthwick for his role in Leicester’s success

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Leicester skipper Ellis Genge has sung the praises of the club’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, for the work he has done in helping the Tigers to the top of English rugby again.

After last winning the Premiership title in 2013, Leicester were crowned champions of England’s top flight once again courtesy of a 15-12 victory over Saracens in this year’s final at Twickenham on Saturday.

And Borthwick has been the mastermind behind their current success – just two seasons since he took charge of the Tigers.

Superb turnaround

When he arrived, Leicester were one of the Premiership‘s strugglers and they were only spared the ignominy of being relegated when Saracens were demoted at the end of the 2019/20 campaign for salary cap breaches.

Genge, who is set to return to his hometown club Bristol Bears ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, has been by Borthwick’s side since he started his stint as the Welford Road-based club’s head honcho.

“Steve has come in and he has reinstalled that belief, that work ethic,” said Genge.

“It had probably got a bit complacent, to be honest, in 2018, and we got what we deserved.

“But you reap the reward if you put the work in, and that is what we have done. What you have seen is a product of all the hard work.

“Steve has been incredible. He hates hearing it, so I don’t really enjoy saying it!

“He gets really awkward – it’s quite funny, actually – but he is a class operator. You don’t come in and turn a team from sixth last season to winning it the year after.

“I have loved every minute. We have worked relentlessly behind the scenes.

“Wind, rain, shine, we’ve been out there on the paddock doing the hard work, and it is just class to see the rewards. It has not sunk in yet.”

Genge reflected on Leicester’s difficult times, when they lost more games than they won just a few years ago.

“I kind of understood it when they (Leicester supporters) were throwing their season tickets at us when we were 11th,” he added.

“They have been incredible in my time here, and made me feel at home. This (title) is what they deserve. They are die-hard fans, and this is what you get when you stick by a team.

“We lost to Exeter the first game of the (2018-19) season, 40-6, and then we got drilled at home two or three times. It was bleak.

“I obviously understand the emotions. I don’t want to dig up bad memories too much, but it is class to see the resurgence.

“Steve always speaks about it. Success doesn’t go like a big wave all the way up. I’ve seen the highs and the lows.

“I don’t think there is ever a magic potion. We thought we were working hard, but we weren’t.

“Steve and Aled Walters (Leicester’s head of physical performance) came in, and we had a vile pre-season. No-one had worked that hard for years – we hadn’t seen what graft was.

“Steve and Aled don’t like going on about it, but I am not afraid to tell you we have worked relentlessly to get to where we are.

“We know we are fit, we graft, and no-one is going to drop off. We came away with the trophy.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Leicester Tigers hero Freddie Burns is still in ‘disbelief’ after winning the title with late drop goal

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