England prop Ellis Genge has welcomed the opportunity to resume working with the mentor who helped launch his career.
Next month Richard Cockerill will be involved in his first autumn as forwards coach after being recruited to provide assistance to Matt Proudfoot as part of Eddie Jones’ rebuilt management team.
Cockerill took Genge to Welford Road in 2016 when he was Leicester director of rugby and the loosehead prop has been a mainstay of the Tigers’ pack since, going on to be appointed club captain.
“He’s a little bit different to when I had him at Leicester but the difference between club and international is that there’s a big jump in terms of how you conduct yourself,” Genge said.
“At Leicester he was there for 20-odd years so he was a very different character there to what he will be like here.
“He’s just working on building relationships now, but he’ll be a good operator when he gets his feet on the ground.
“I kept in touch with Cockers after he left Leicester. When he got the England job I text him to say congratulations.
“He was a big pillar in my career, he brought me into the Leicester environment and treated me so well. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be sat here now.”
England are preparing for the Autumn Nations Series that opens against Tonga on November 6 with a five-day training camp in Jersey.
To add variety to the training schedule, on Tuesday the squad were challenged to swim 700m out to sea while shepherding a paddle board in teams with the aim of improving their communication and challenging them physically.
“I’m not a very good swimmer so I almost opted out of it and said I don’t really fancy paddling a mile out to sea. But we’re all in it together and I’m surprised I made it back,” said Genge, whose team finished first.
Today the squad were split into teams and tasked to swim a paddle board 700 metres out to sea in Jersey and back again 🏊 pic.twitter.com/zKyYqtWMJp
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) October 27, 2021
Number eight Callum Chick said that Genge was offering advice on how to swim, but the loosehead prop replied: “The boys were getting tired and I was at the back and I could see when they’d stop swimming so I said ‘let’s change stroke’.
“Everyone was class. We did very well. We won by about 10 minutes, which is a lot. We were the heaviest group as well. It was class and I really enjoyed it.
“I’m a terrible swimmer so I was very pessimistic going into it but coming out the other end I got a big endorphin hit from winning so I guess there are no negatives to come from it.”