The National Times - Genge says England unity key to resisting Wales pressure

Genge says England unity key to resisting Wales pressure

Genge says England unity key to resisting Wales pressure
Genge says England unity key to resisting Wales pressure

Ellis Genge said increased off-field "togetherness" had helped England maintain their composure as they staved off a Wales fightback at Twickenham.

Change text size:

England were seemingly in command at 17-0 ahead early in the second half of Saturday's Six Nations clash at Twickenham, only for Wales to rally before the hosts completed a 23-19 victory over the reigning champions.

There have been several occasions in recent years where England have squandered seemingly comfortable leads, notably in a 38-38 draw with Scotland at Twickenham in 2019 where they had been 31-0 ahead.

But on Saturday, with prop forward Genge increasingly influential in their pack, England held on to win and so maintain a challenge for the 2022 Six Nations title.

England coach Eddie Jones, in his recent book 'Leadership', suggested the presence of so many players from Saracens, with the London club involved in a salary cap scandal, had been harmful to his squad's cohesion when they finished fifth in last year's Six Nations.

"In previous years we would probably have started bitching a little bit at each other, shouting. We would have become a little bit disjointed," said Genge as he reflected on the impact of Wales scoring two tries in seven second-half minutes.

"But there wasn't one minute out there, even when we conceded two on the bounce in reasonably quick succession, when any of us were bitching or moaning at each other.

"It has come from changes off the pitch. We've got a huge focus on togetherness."

England were outscored three tries to one by Wales and Genge accepted "it maybe wasn't our best performance".

But they remain in title contention ahead of their two concluding matches this Six Nations, at home to Ireland and away to France.

Veteran scrum-half Ben Youngs, who became England's most-capped men's player when he made his 115th appearance off the bench against Italy, said there were areas for improvement ahead of the Ireland game in a fortnight.

"Probably we can be a bit more aggressive in our defensive system," said Youngs, who thanked a capacity Twickenham crowd of over 81,000 for their "incredible" reception when he took the field on Saturday.

"There is more to come in our defensive system and we created a lot of pressure, but we need to create a bit more scoreboard pressure and come away with some points.

"There are some pictures to go but the most important thing is we got the result and we will keep building."