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‘Biggest game of my career’ – Ellis Genge leads Leicester in Premiership final
The Tigers are bidding to land their first Premiership title for nine years.
Leicester captain Ellis Genge has described Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final against Saracens as the biggest game of his career.
Genge, who has won 36 England caps and been part of a World Cup squad, will make his Tigers farewell at Twickenham.
The 27-year-old Bristolian says he is “at peace” with his decision, which was announced six months ago, to join his hometown club later this summer.
And whatever happens this weekend, he will leave a club that he has helped revitalise from relegation candidates to title contenders in just two years.
Leicester finished 11th in the Premiership for two successive seasons – 2019 and 2020 – and won just 13 of their 44 league games over that period.
But they are now chasing league silverware again, nine years after their last Twickenham triumph.
“It has been a lot of hard work and a lot of good people putting a lot of time in away from the scenes, outside working hours, to get us where we are,” Genge said.
“I made a pact a long time ago that I would never leave Tigers if they were in a dark hole.
“I had all sorts of offers in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to go elsewhere when we were bottom of the pile, and I said I wanted to stick it out and see brighter days.
“So, I can hopefully leave on Saturday with my head held high.
“I want to be with my family. I just want to be accessible for my family. I am at peace with it (his move to Bristol).
“I’ve still got my stuff in the changing rooms. I haven’t packed up, I still live up here, and I’ve got the biggest game of my career on Saturday, and I will wait until after that for thinking about that stuff.”
Genge has been one of European rugby’s form players this season, a rampaging prop whose tireless work-rate in the loose matches his scrummaging power.
Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick’s decision to appoint him as skipper proved a master-stroke, with Genge leading a side that won all their Premiership home games this term and were table-toppers for the entire domestic campaign.
It is all a far cry from recent struggles when Leicester’s top-flight status came under genuine threat.
We've got a wealth of winners around us, so it is reassuring to have those boys there.
- Leicester captain Ellis Genge
“It’s probably easier to lose than it is to win, especially when you are on a massive losing streak, no-one expects you to do anything,” Genge added.
“Part of it is changing the habit and starting to win, which we have obviously done this year.
“We haven’t been in this situation (as a club) for a long, long time, although we are quite fortunate that we’ve got a lot of people in the room that have been competing for trophies and in finals for the last few years.
“We’ve got a wealth of winners around us, so it is reassuring to have those boys there.”