Genge does not hold back

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Rugby - Gavin Cum­miskey

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.

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