Lewis Moody wants England head coach Eddie Jones to unleash the “fire” of Ellis Genge on Ireland in a blockbuster Six Nations battle on Sunday.
Genge came off the bench to score a late try that ensured England regained the Calcutta Cup with a 13-6 victory over fierce rivals Scotland at Storm Ciara-battered Murrayfield last time out.
Powerhouse prop Mako Vunipola is unavailable for family reasons for a pivotal round-three showdown at Twickenham this weekend, so either Genge or Joe Marler are set to come into the starting line-up.
Former England flanker Moody wants to see Genge, who described critics of the Rugby World Cup runners-up as “sausages” after the win over Scotland, in the front row from the start.
Speaking to Omnisport ahead of the England v Ireland Rugby Legends Charity Match at Twickenham Stoop, Moody said: “I love Genge, I just think he’s something different, as is Marler.
“From a character point of view they are both very authentic, unique individuals. From a playing point of view Ellis just brings some proper fire, he’s got that fire in his belly.
“You can see how hungry he is, how passionate he is for his team to do well. He’s totally bought into that, you can see that with the post-match chat after the Scotland game, where he was clearly upset people were attacking his coach and his team.
“I like that sort of spirit in a player. Whether he’s technically the best scrummager, I’m probably not a good enough artiste of the front row to be able to give enough information on that, but in terms of an individual I’d want him in my team, he’d be on the starting sheet.”
There have been some wonderful games in Twickenham between @EnglandRugby and @IrishRugby and this Sunday should be no different. @anthonywatson_ and @mikebrown_15 were the difference in 2016. #20YrsOfRugbysGreatestChampionship #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/xMBOExaZmk
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 19, 2020
Moody says the return to fitness of centre Manu Tuilagi is a major boost for England, particularly with Billy Vunipola unable to play any part in the tournament due to a broken arm.
The World Cup winner added: “For England, it will be enormous. Without Billy Vunipola and Manu it’s a different proposition without that ball carrying. They get those extra yards every time and that ability to offload.
“Manu coming in would go some way to reinstilling that momentum in the England attack, it feels like it’s been missing for the last two games – obviously you have to take into account the conditions against Scotland.”
– The England v Ireland Rugby Legends Charity Match will take place at Twickenham Stoop on February 22, kick-off 17.30 and will be raising money for Restart Rugby, RFU Injured Players Fund and the Tom Smith Testimonial Committee. Visit http://tickets.quins.co.uk for tickets and more information.
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