Ellis Genge: ‘I can relate to worried England fans... I feel the same about Bristol Rovers’

Ellis Genge: ‘I can relate to worried England fans... I feel the same about Bristol Rovers’

Ellis Genge knows how England’s supporters feel — the candid prop admits to riding the same rollercoaster with Bristol Rovers.

The Bristol front-rower ranks among the straightest talking of England stars and pulled back the curtain on Steve Borthwick’s Test squad in a bid to allay any lingering fan doubts.

Genge insisted England never lost any ounce of belief, not even across three damaging defeats in four warm-up Tests last month.

If Saturday’s 27-10 victory over ­Argentina in Marseille vindicated that steely focus, Genge insisted that ­statement win is only the start for a dialled-in England.

“I know it’s hard from the outside — I support Bristol Rovers, so I know how it feels when you’re not getting results,” said Genge. “When that happens, it’s always, ‘This is the worst ever, everything has to change!’ [but] all you can do is double-down.”

England’s first-ever loss to Fiji closed a miserable August build-up to the Rugby World Cup in France, but Genge insisted he has never doubted England’s ability to peak at the right time.

“We believe — there was not one second in the last few weeks that I’ve thought, ‘We’re in trouble here’, I honestly haven’t,” said Genge. “I know that’s hard to believe, but I haven’t felt like that at all. I’m not saying we’ve cracked it by any sense, but it’s a step in the right direction.

“We’ve been chipping away, doing our graft and we’re confident. We’ve been doing the work, so we can be confident. I’ve been there before. When you’re in a team 24 hours a day, seven days a week for three months, you know where you are and where you are going.”

England face Japan in Nice on Sunday buoyed for a promising Pool D campaign, but wary of the challenges ahead.

“It’s easy to say now, ‘We’ve been building towards this’. We’ve been trying to win, but we didn’t change anything,” said Genge.

“We did exactly the same as we have been doing, and all of a sudden everyone thinks we’ve cracked it. That’s just sport.”