Ellis Genge admits he has Leicester Tigers’ teammates Marcos Ayerza and Dan Cole to thank, after scooping the Land Rover Discovery of the Season prize at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards.
The 22-year-old beat Sale Sharks flyer Denny Solomona, Harlequins centre Joe Marchant, Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Jack Maunder, and Bath Rugby duo Zach Mercer and Tom Ellis to the prize, receiving his accolade at the glittering London Lancaster Hotel ceremony.
Genge, who helped Leicester finish fourth this season, already has one England cap to his name, with more set to come after becoming a fierce front-row destroyer in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
But the prop, who became a permanent Welford Road face 12 months ago, believes he owes his honour to other men in Tigers ranks after a flourishing season at the front of the scrum.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) May 17, 2017
“It’s good to have been at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards, it’s always nice to join up with the boys and I’m really pleased to have won the award,” he said.
“Marcos got a horrible injury at the back end of last season and I’ve probably just clawed on to the back of that.
“In a lot of sports it’s about being in the right place at the right time, so I continued to work hard, got thrown in at the deep end and luckily I came out paddling.
“Marcos has been on my shoulder the whole time and helped me lot. It’s the same with Dan Cole, I’ve been playing with him week in, week out, and they’ve definitely been there for me.
“People come here to Aviva Premiership Rugby, and the level of scrummaging in the league is so high. Northern hemisphere players really appreciate scrummaging, and some of the Southern hemisphere props that come over are really looking for the test.”
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) May 18, 2017
Genge’s season is not over yet however, with his Leicester side embarking on their 13th successive Aviva Premiership semi-final this coming weekend.
That sees them pit their wits with regular-season table-toppers Wasps, at the Ricoh Arena, for a place at Twickenham, all while eyeing up their first Aviva Premiership Rugby title since 2012-13.
But with their top-four run continuing and a trophy already in his cabinet before the season is out, Genge is already revelling in a campaign to remember – even before joining up with Eddie Jones and the England squad for their tour to Argentina.
“We’re in the semi-finals and that’s a great achievement,” he continued. “Ninety per cent of the Premiership would be happy with where we are, we’d like to be further up the table but I’d rather go to Wasps’ own backyard, so we’ll see how it goes.
“Every week the battle is big, the forward packs work as hard as any other team so it’s about whether you turn up on the day or not.
“It will be good to join up with the England boys, but I’m not thinking about that at the moment. I’m just focusing on Coventry and hopefully we can put in a performance and make the final.”
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) May 16, 2017
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