Ellis Genge of England draws motivation from critics ahead of South Africa semi-final, embracing the 'underdog' role.


Ellis Genge of England draws motivation from critics ahead of South Africa semi-final, embracing the ‘underdog’ role.

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In the lead-up to England’s Rugby World Cup semi-final clash against South Africa, Ellis Genge responded to the criticism aimed at his team, emphasizing that it serves as a source of motivation rather than discouragement. Following their hard-fought victory over Fiji in the quarter-finals, Steve Borthwick’s squad remains unbeaten and has earned a spot in the final four, where they face the formidable defending champions.

Despite their impressive performance in the tournament, England is considered the underdogs in this encounter, with few giving them a chance to replicate their 2003 World Cup success. Genge, however, finds inspiration in the doubters and plans to use the negativity as “fuel” when they take on the Springboks on Saturday night.

Genge spoke candidly about the team’s mentality, saying, “I quite like the noise and having our backs up against the wall, with everyone wanting us to lose. That probably fuels me a bit. Others are probably better off blocking it out. You look around, and we have people like Courts [Courtney Lawes] and players with 300 caps across three players, which is incredible, and some of the best players of their generation. Right now, they are probably the villains because everyone hates on them. Faz [Owen Farrell] gets a lot of grief, but you are happy to have him in the team every single time.”

Owen Farrell played a pivotal role in England’s victory against Fiji, contributing 20 points, and demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the team’s success. Coach Steve Borthwick’s decision to select Farrell over the in-form George Ford for the quarter-final encounter raised some eyebrows, but it proved to be a wise choice, as England’s top points-scorer delivered his best performance of the competition.

Jamie George, Farrell’s teammate at Saracens, vouched for his character, saying, “Knowing Owen like I do, he doesn’t care about other people’s opinions. It didn’t surprise me the way he played. He plays like that every week. I’m lucky enough to play with him every week at Sarries. He does it every time he plays.”

Richard Wigglesworth, England’s attack coach, also defended Farrell, stating, “He definitely doesn’t have to prove anything. We are lucky to have Owen. As ever, the tallest trees catch the most wind, and he seems to catch a fair bit.”

As the anticipation for the semi-final showdown with South Africa continues to build, England’s players find strength in the face of criticism, determined to prove their worth on the world stage. This battle-hardened team stands as the sole undefeated nation in the tournament, ready to face the challenge and write a new chapter in their Rugby World Cup journey.



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