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23rd Feb 2022

Ellis Genge on three England teammates he’d love to see give boxing a go

Patrick McCarry

Ellis Genge

“That’s all I can really give you, if I’m honest!”

After an opening weekend loss to Scotland was followed up with a bonus point win over Italy, Ellis Genge is not getting too deep into the weeds on England’s 2022 Guinness Six Nations campaign. He knows how much is resting on beating Wales at Twickenham this weekend.

Days out from England vs. Wales, we spoke with Genge, Maro Itoje and Joe Launchbury about a social inclusion campaign, run by Guinness, entitled the Never Settle Programme.

Speaking with our Welsh rugby aficionado Alex Roberts, Genge understands why he is not wishing him or England too well before this Saturday’s encounter.

“It’s all right,” says Genge. “My missus is Welsh so I get the same at home! She’s from Port Talbot.”

After a big drive, in 2021, to raise awareness of the Women’s Six Nations championship, the big Guinness focus in 2022 is is working with partners and the rugby community to ‘ensure all spaces around the sport are safe and welcoming to all, whether that be online, in stadiums or in pubs and bars’.

Ellis Genge

Quick-fire questions with Ellis Genge

After helping set the scene for the pivotal Six Nations clash between Wales and England, and telling us more on the Guinness ‘Never Settle’ programme, we then asked the Leicester Tigers captain some quick-fire questions.

Favourite Film or TV programme

It’s an anime called Demon Slayer.

Sporting Icon/Hero

Mike Tyson.

If you could live a day in the shoes of someone else, who would you pick?

A toss-up between LeBron James, Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos. Or one of the leaders of the bigger countries. I’d like to know what’s going on with all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Early bird or night owl?

Night owl.

What do you make of the cross-over between boxing and MMA?

I love it. I love all combat sports. I’m not a massive fan of the whole YouTube set-up but, at the same time, I don’t know about Logan but that Jake Paul guy is not a bad boxer.

I love combat sport. It’s all I ever grew up watching. I’m obsessed with it. I more like the classics, like Joe Calzaghe, Prince Naseem, all them boys. From the current era, I like Conor Benn, Chris Eubanks Jr. I love it all.

From the rugby world – other than Sonny Bill Williams – who would make a decent boxer?

Before all my wrist injuries and shoulder ones, boxing is what I would have loved to do and given a crack. I had a decent bit of stopping power but I’ve absolute pillow fists, now that I’ve had wrist and shoulder operations.

There’s a few that might do well at other weight categories. You know what? Harry Randall, we were knocking about the other day and he gave me a nice upper-cut on the chin. I thought, ‘Fair play’! Although he’s only five-foot-nothing, I think he wouldn’t be bad.

Other than that, I’d like to see Courtney Lawes or Jonny Hill. Just the reach and athleticism, in today’s boxing I think they’d go well – keeping people at distance with their jab.

In the MMA world, I’d like to see a couple of boys have a roll around on the matts.

Who is the strongest in the gym?

You know what, I probably would have said myself before we came into the campaign, but Kyle Sinckler is putting some serious tin up on the bench, at the moment. He was doing 170 [kgs] for five [reps] the other day. I used to do more than him but now he’s doing that. Chaos!

With the legs, though, it’s probably myself. With his legs, he squats to a box! Zero depth!

As an all-rounder, I’d probably put myself up there, but Sincks on the bench. I’ll catch him very soon, don’t worry.

Best dressed?

Fordy [George Ford] always looks after himself. Looks very well. Some of those boys wear tighter tops and look more aesthetic than me and some of the other boys!

And the worst?

I’m a terrible dancer. Charlie Ewels. Fordy is a terrible dancer. Real bad! Bevan Rodd moves like a fridge. Will Stuart is up there as well. Anyone who is in the front row… plus George Ford.

Biggest pet peeve?

Bad manners. So, if I don’t know someone and I hold a door open for them, and they don’t say thanks, I’ll go at them quite hard.

Ultimate cheat meal?

I’m quite a lazy eater, so anything I can order. Curry is my big favourite.

Any weird pre-match superstitions?

I get in the bath, then lay on the floor on a towel. We didn’t have a bath [in the away changing rooms] for the past few weeks so just the floor. But I usually lay in the bath, on a towel, for about 40 minutes.

Maro Itoje was speaking on behalf of Guinness alongside teammates Ellis Genge and Joe Launchbury. Guinness is working with its partners to make sure rugby is inclusive and welcoming for everyone. To find out more visit HERE