“When you were in the gutter and you saw the revival, then you really feel proud.”

Ellis Genge knows his time with Leicester Tigers finish quickly and after helping to get the club out of the “channel” it is decided that the semi-final of the Premiership semi-final with super-rivals. Northampton will not see the curtain fall on Saturday.

Genge, who returns to Bristol at the end of this campaign after almost seven years in the Midland, commanded Leicester to finish top of the Premiership at the end of the regular season having been part of the squad that languished in 11th place in consecutive seasons before Steve’s arrival Borthwick. in 2020 allowed them to finish sixth last season.

Now, having made history by being the first Premiership team to be the highest after every round of the competition this season, Genge is two wins away from lifting the trophy at Twickenham.

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There were hard times during his Tiger career and Genge addressed that at today’s media conference and explained that the difficult times made the current success much sweeter. He said: “I was proud to be exhausted when we were 11th in a 13-game losing streak. Pride never goes away. Imagine you had everything brilliant and you finished over your entire career and you never knew anything different. When you was down in the gutter and you saw the revival, then you really feel proud.

“I was proud of the whole process and that’s probably why this team got to where it is now. Otherwise it would not have happened. If we hadn’t been proud when we were 11, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are now because we wouldn’t care.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say I thought it was my last match at the stadium and I’m still figuring out what it will look like and how I want it to be. I just want to completely empty the tank for the supporters who have been there everywhere. “

Taking the club to a Twickenham final against both Saracens or Harlequins would give Tigers the chance of a first league title in nine years, it would not win Genge a special tie, which is something he admits to “getting dirty”.

He explained: “I have been here for almost seven years now. I think I’ll finish at 98 starts, and you don’t get a tie up to 100, so that’s a bit deprived. I have a mostly great relationship with the fans I think. They are a great set of fans. We went through that low period 2017-2019, where the relationship was not great between players and fans, for obvious reasons. We didn’t turn up, so they put us under a lot of heat.

“I feel like we’ve come out the other side and the stadium is bouncing back and you can really feel that player-fan connection walking around. It’s quite personal, to hear them shout your name, applause when the boys leave the field. It’s great. Even internationally it is one of the best stadiums I have played in. It’s a special place.

“I have a few derbies in my time but the East Midland one would be up there as one of the most productive. You have to hit the drum when the time is right and not start going crazy and spitting flames too early and you have to wait until Friday and Saturday for “It’s time and place for those and they will come.”

Genge, who had a significant impact as captain, paid tribute to the influence of head coach Steve Borthwick and his fellow coaches, including Aled Walters who helped South Africa win the Rugby World Cup 2019. “I think there are some unsung heroes who like to be unsung heroes,” added Genge. “Steve is absolutely unbelievable, as you probably already know. He’s a well-dressed coach who probably doesn’t get the praises he deserved. I’m so happy that he’s finally getting some recognition for being such a good operator. He works tirelessly, so he deserves it.

“You’ve heard all about Aled as the energy giver he is. There are some great people in this club who don’t put their name on the hat too often, which I really miss. I look forward to enjoying my time with them for the next few days. “

One aspect of Tigers ’leadership that Genge still cares about is the entrance to the Mattioli Woods Welford Road terrain, which involves traveling down concrete steps with fans on either side of the players. “I’ve almost slipped a few times because unlike the backs we don’t wear molds and smaller studs and there are little ledges on the steps and so you have to think about going down them. I tend to jump over the steps and hopefully I won’t fall on Saturday. ”

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