Tigers boss Steve Borthwick praises the star couple – then speaks out against the planned introduction of 20-minute red cards
(Image: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Ellis Genge and George Ford have been credited with spearheading Leicester’s pursuit of Premiership and European glory – despite being on the verge of leaving the club.
The English duo have signed deals with Bristol and Sale respectively and will move from Welford Road this summer.
But any notion that their hearts and minds might be elsewhere was emphatically dispelled by team boss Steve Borthwick last night.
“I sense an incredible determination from George and Ellis to make the best possible end of their time with the Tigers,” Borthwick said.
“Both want to leave this club on a high after going through some difficult times here. They want to leave the club in a good place.”
Leicester lead the Premiership by eight points and are one of only two English clubs in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.
“You can see these guys are playing well and that sends a signal,” added Borthwick of his captain Genge and playmaker Ford. “I ask them to come and train hard so they set an example and they are doing just that.
“When you play well and train well, it’s important to show calmness and composure at the right moment when the excitement is high. These players do.
“These guys were at a World Cup final. You have played in major international games.
“Right now they’re really enjoying these big games at club level – because Leicester Tigers haven’t had them for a long time to be honest.”
These are exciting times for a team who won the last of their 10 English titles nine long years ago and Borthwick admits the excitement is shared by fans and players alike.
“There’s that anticipation, no question about it,” he said. “We’re very excited about where we are – and the players deserve it after all the work they’ve put in.
“But the credit I would give them is that they know that when they come through the door here, they only focus on the next game.”
A major concern for Leicester, as well as their rivals, is the explosion of cards penalizing dangerous tackles.
Twenty were shown in eight Champions Cup games over the weekend, five of them red – including one for a Leicester player for the second game in a row.
World Rugby are considering introducing a 20-minute red card as a global court process allows the sacked player to be tactically replaced with a substitute after 20 minutes.
But Borthwick is against the move, arguing: “In my view, a red card is a red card. That’s how I was raised.
“Unfortunately we’ve had a couple of incidents over the past two weeks and we’ll continue to find ways to lower our tackle height.
“We try to change ingrained habits and we practice that as often as we can. But there are clear protocols. So if someone does something that justifies being sent off with a red card, it should be for the game.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/departing-duo-ellis-genge-george-26740895 Leaving duo Ellis Genge and George Ford named as driving forces behind Leicester's promotion