Ellis Genge
Genge was part of the winning team in a paddleboard challenge the England squad undertook during their recent camp in Jersey
Venue: Twickenham, London Date: Saturday, 6 November Kick-off:15:15 GMT
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Prop Ellis Genge says England must build their team spirit off the pitch to improve performances on it.

“We have always had good rugby players but just not always got on very well,” Genge told Rugby Union Weekly.

“I think that is the biggest area of growth for us.”

England play Tonga, Australia and South Africa this autumn in the wake of a dismal fifth-place finish in this year’s Six Nations and fresh scrutiny around the culture led by coach Eddie Jones.

Genge, who was made captain of Leicester in August, has become part of England’s leadership group and says building the team’s cohesion is his main strength.

“Bringing the boys together off the pitch is probably where I flourish,” he added.

“Relationships go so far in rugby now, so that is what I try to work on, I try not to spend too much time with one person and get around everyone and build small relationships with everyone.

“I think 99% of the boys who meet me in camp have a very different idea of what I am going to be like.

“They said they thought I was a bit of a tool on the pitch and then obviously they were pleasantly surprised off it.”

Genge made only four Tests starts in the three years following his debut off the bench against Wales in May 2016 and said he would regularly put his case for more game time to Jones.

Ellis Genge
Genge had to bide his time after making his England debut as a 21-year-old against Wales

“I used to go back and forth with Eddie in meetings after selections,” he said.

“He would say, you have to earn your stripes, you are not ready yet, we would argue.

“But you do see eventually that he is right and that is the reason he is such a great coach. He sees the one-percenters you need to work on, whether you want to or not. For me it was scrummaging and some other things.”

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