Genge does not hold back
Rugby gets excoriated for being an upper-class sport. Professionalism was supposed to alter this reality.
“I don’t want to put it down to race – I don’t think it’s about that – but I’ll put it down to culture,” Ellis Genge told the Mail on Sunday.
“The way people are raised and brought up. There’s that private-school mould in rugby. It’s stopping the game from progressing and it’s painful.”
Genge adds: “I feel like, in rugby, people aren’t allowed to be themselves. They’re so false and that stops our sport from growing. It breaks me.”
Interviews like this, from the Leicester and England prop, are rare.
Not a topic is spared. On coping with defeat, and inadvertently on the pill-popping culture of rugby, he notes: “I’ve got to sit on the plane and think on it for two hours when I’m caffeined out my f ***** g eyeballs.” Clearly an exception that proves the rule, on his troubled family background he says: “My uncle’s away for murder. He has been away for a long time. My granddad was in the nick. It’s not alien to me.”
The salaries of rugby players compared to footballers is stark: “’I came here on an academy contract for peanuts. Now I’ve got enough for the odd Gucci cap but there’s f**k-all money in rugby. I’m 23, I’ve got zero cartilage, my shoulder has been ripped off the bone and I’m renting out this flat. The guy who lived here before me, Dom Ryan, retired at 28 because his brain was fried [he retired because of concussion] and he had nothing to fall back on. Who knows what I’ll do? These Man City kids are 18 and buying £3million houses.’”
Now, Ryan does have plenty to fall back on and recently told this newspaper that he intends to continue his education, but the point holds.