Ellis Genge hails Leicester Premiership triumph but later highlights racist abuse | Leicester
Ellis Genge has described Leicester’s crowning as champions of England as the highlight of his career, only to have it marred hours later by the latest example of abuse by the social media underclass.
A Twitter user congratulated the Tigers captain on his victory, before sending in his next direct message the only word starting with N which evokes the worst in the history of racism of humanity.
Genge anonymized the tweet before reposting it. He described these messages as “banal”, before insisting that “social networks / the law applies to it”.
Hopefully Genge then resumed celebrating Leicester’s triumph without further thought. Twice the day after the match, he hailed the crushing victory, clinched by Freddie Burns’ last-minute drop goal, as the highlight of his career. “I would say so,” he said. “I’ll think about it later, but I won almost nothing. We’ve always been pretty close to second place in my career so far.
And sometimes not even that. Genge joined Leicester in 2016, signing from Bristol, where he will return this summer.
During his six years at Welford Road, the Tigers’ fortunes reached depths hitherto uncharted by England’s biggest rugby club.
The former all-around champions finished 11th out of 12 straight seasons in that time. For the second, two seasons ago, the only reason they weren’t relegated was the small matter of the 105 points Saracens, their opponents defeated on Saturday, were deducted, thanks to their salary cap violations.
Genge described how fans threw their season cards at players during these dark times. Fast forward a few years and they had more adoring voices, which made the 70,000 people gathered at Twickenham feel like a home crowd.
“I loved hearing the Tigers singing,” Genge said. “It was overwhelming and the lap at the end was absolutely brilliant. They were reasonably consistent. I kind of got it [the fans’ reaction] when we were 11th, but they were amazing during my stay here. It’s what they deserve, as die-hard fans. That’s what you get if you stick with a team.
The love of the Midlands circulating in South West London was rich and abundant, so many stories within stories, and Genge walked through them all with aplomb. His tribute to retired Tom Youngs, the man he replaced as captain, who lost his wife, Tiffany, to cancer only the week before last, was magnificent.
Other tributes followed: to Burns, the winner of the match, finally champion at 32; to George Ford, who limped off in the first half in his last game for Leicester; to the club men behind the scenes, the Smiths, Brett Deacon et al; the agonies players endured at the Coal Front trying to wake up from those recent nadirs; to Steve Borthwick, whose reign coincided with Leicester’s revival of fortunes.
“Steve is brilliant. I first met him when he came to Bristol [in 2015] after a successful stay in Japan. He has seen me grow since then. He’s pretty tough on me, keeps me grounded. I hope he won’t mind staying in touch with me for the next 12 months!
Genge noted with a smile that the celebration time will be fierce, but not as long as one might think. He has pledged to ‘blow the roof off’ but will soon report to camp with England ahead of the three Test tour of Australia. Barely back from that, and he’ll be packing for a return to his hometown club Bristol, who have suffered their own mini-crisis since finishing the 2020-21 regular season like Leicester did this one. , in first place.
The fate of the modern rugby player shows no signs of easing. Blood still dripping from his forehead, Genge looked and spoke as if he didn’t want it any other way. Days like his at Twickenham this weekend are the reason they keep coming back. And why the background noise of social media should be dismissed with contempt.