Friday, February 23, 2024

Ellis Genge: England squad have made pact that France Six Nations drubbing cannot be repeated

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England vice-captain Ellis Genge says they’ve had some honest conversations since being thrashed at home by France and he insists there won’t be a repeat performance when they try to deny Ireland the Six Nations Grand Slam this weekend.

England vice-captain Ellis Genge says they’ve had some honest conversations since being thrashed at home by France and he insists there won’t be a repeat performance when they try to deny Ireland the Six Nations Grand Slam this weekend.

Ellis Genge, England skipper for Saturday’s record 53-10 home defeat to France, says the squad has “made a pact [that] it will not happen again”, while admitting morale has been hit. 

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports on Tuesday at England’s training base, Genge explained the adamant stance Steve Borthwick’s charges have taken since the heavy defeat, and has backed the group to respond and show a better “mindset” in Tests to come.

“We’ve had a review, it clearly wasn’t good enough, but I didn’t think anyone was under any illusion that it was,” Genge told Sky Sports.

“We’ve had some honest conversations as to why that happened at the weekend, we’ve cleared that up and made a pact that it’s not going to happen again.

England's 53-10 defeat to France at was their largest Twickenham defeat of all time, and the most points they have ever conceded at home

England’s 53-10 defeat to France at was their largest Twickenham defeat of all time, and the most points they have ever conceded at home

“There’s a few factors, but I think ultimately it was down to physicality: letting them win the collisions, which led to some brilliant French offloads and a fair few tries.

“I don’t think the first few tries would have been [an attitude thing], but then obviously when you’re taking a pumping, sometimes you can switch off and think it’s easier to roll over, and that’s what happened at the weekend.

“I think it takes time to build a consistency in the sense that you can trust the person next to you every single time to, week-win, week-out, have your back.

“I think that’s what it boils down to, the mindset stuff. That takes a while to build, but I think it’s something I’ve seen from this group a fair few times. Look at the summer tour to Australia, we lost the first Test and it would have been easy to just say: ‘We’re not good enough,’ but we came back to win the series 2-1.

“It’s a bit different now in the Six Nations, obviously losing a record defeat at home, but it’s something we’ve parked and made a promise now to really push on.”

Genge, with Farrell on the bench, captained England for the first time in his career on Saturday

Genge, with Farrell on the bench, captained England for the first time in his career on Saturday

The 28-year-old Bristol loosehead prop admits England got “spooked” facing Les Bleus, and face a tough trip to Grand Slam-chasing Ireland on Saturday.

While Genge admits the mood in England camp has been knocked, he is intent they show an improvement vs the world’s No 1 side, who he adds have more pressure on them going into the Dublin meeting.

“I think we were switched on [vs France], but clearly in the game some things in the game spooked and shocked us, and we didn’t recover well enough.

“I definitely noticed it on the Monday [a hit to morale], I think we were carrying it with us, but then Faz (Owen Farrell) spoke really well, and we’ve parked it and moved on.

“Ultimately I don’t know what the result is going to be on Saturday [vs Ireland in Dublin], but as long as we fight and have each other’s backs, that’s what we’ll be going after.

“I don’t think we’ve necessarily thought about how monumental this is. It’s a massive occasion, the Irish boys must be buzzing: [a day after] St Paddy’s Day, home turf, first home Grand Slam opportunity, it’s mint for them, but we’re going there to give it our best shot.

“They’re a brilliant, brilliant side and deserve to be No 1. It’s all against us, but we’re excited.

“We’ve got to put things right, but the pressure is probably more on them to be honest.”

England second-row Chessum ruled out of Ireland game with ankle injury

Tuesday’s England squad update brought confirmation second-row Ollie Chessum has been ruled out of the trip to Ireland due to an ankle injury.

England second-row Ollie Chessum has been ruled out of the squad for the trip to Ireland due to injury

England second-row Ollie Chessum has been ruled out of the squad for the trip to Ireland due to injury

Leicester Tigers lock George Martin has been added to a 30-player retained group.

Other players released from the squad are back-row Ben Earl, scrum-half Ben Youngs, prop Will Collier, wings Cadan Murley and Tommy Freeman, and centre Guy Porter.

Forwards (17): Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 99 caps), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 4 caps), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 13 caps), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, 3 caps), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 47 caps), Jamie George (Saracens, 76 caps), Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 19 caps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 10 caps), Maro Itoje (Saracens, 66 caps), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 18 caps), George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap), David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 4 caps), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 60 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 78 caps), Jack Walker (Harlequins, 3 caps), Jack Willis (Toulouse, 9 caps)

Backs (13): Henry Arundell (London Irish, 6 caps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, 105 caps), George Ford (Sale Sharks, 81 caps), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, 2 caps), Max Malins (Saracens, 18 caps), Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 14 caps), Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 4 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 55 caps), Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 21 caps), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 21 caps), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 50 caps), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 11 caps), Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 54 caps)

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