Ellis Genge’s leadership credentials have received emphatic approval from England’s most capped player as contingency plans are drawn up in case Eddie Jones is deprived of his two established captains.
Courtney Lawes and Owen Farrell are recovering from concussions suffered on club duty which left them doubtful for the series opener against Argentina at Twickenham on Sunday week.
Neither player made it to England training camp in Jersey and although they could still face the Pumas, Jones is considering alternatives to the pair who took charge against Australia in July when Lawes acted as skipper and Farrell was vice-captain.
When the two Lions were absent from the Six Nations, Tom Curry took charge, but there is growing support for Genge to continue his transformation from the ‘rough diamond’ who joined Leicester in 2016 before returning to hometown club Bristol as one of the most popular Joneses. performers.
Tigers scrum-half Ben Youngs, who has made a record 117 appearances for England, values the prop a lot.
“When Ellis first arrived at Leicester he was a diamond in the rough. He had all this raw power and talent that needed to be molded into the way he played,” Youngs said.
“He would do these crazy rhino races, but to see what he is now, he’s totally different. He’s one of the best morons in the world, if not the best.
“His regularity in carrying the ball is constant. That’s huge growth. Sometimes you have to take your hat off to people because they’re going to find that growth through hard work.
“When you’re blessed with that power and aggression, you still have to figure out how to use it effectively and he did.
“The Ellis who appeared at the Tigers versus the one who is here today are very different characters.
“In terms of leadership, he speaks very well. He is very calm, very measured. He has a good feeling with people in the way he speaks and interacts.
“The way Leicester play, you need someone coal as captain and Gengey is through scrums and the way he carries and tackles.
“It was a natural fit for him, but he also made it his own and grew week by week in this leadership role.
“He would probably be the first to admit he’s trying to improve in that area, but I think he’s doing a terrific job.”
As Jones contemplates the potential loss of two trusted lieutenants, he has received promising news that a third member of his inner circle of leaders in Luke Cowan-Dickie may be able to return to full training next week.
Cowan-Dickie is struggling with a knee injury sustained on club duty for Exeter this weekend and with Jamie George missing all fall with a foot problem, a hooker crisis could be looming.
But forwards coach Richard Cockerill provided a positive update on his recovery as rookies George McGuigan and Jack Singleton are placed on standby to provide cover.
“Luke participated in some units this (Wednesday) morning. As far as I can tell, the knee is stabilizing. There’s every chance he’ll train fully next week,” Cockerill said.
Flanker Lewis Ludlam is struggling with a hip complaint but Cockerill said he will return to full training next week.