Battle between Giant Genge and Tongan Thor could could be key

Gladiators, ready! The titanic battle between ‘Giant’ Ellis Genge and Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou could could be hugely important as England take on Australia

  • Ellis Genge’s battle with  Taniela Tupou could be key as England face Australia
  • Tupou spoke up his battle with Genge, saying ‘I want to give it to him’
  • Genge stressed England won’t be short of driver when they take on Australia 

Ellis Genge declared on Friday that England will not be ‘caught cold’ by Australia again as the tourists gear up for a ‘gladiatorial’ showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

Eddie Jones’s team go into the second Test one down in the series and hell-bent on proving a point after their 30-28 defeat last weekend.

That setback in Perth was founded on the Wallabies’ dominance up front — despite being a man down for more than half the game — and Genge admitted that England under-estimated their opponents.

Ellis Genge has insisted that England will not be caught cold again when they face Australia

‘I was surprised and thought they were better than what we perceived they were going to be,’ said the prop.

‘That was probably a bit naive on our part. Good for them.

‘What are we going to do to turn that around? Find out tomorrow. Go harder. We’ve got to be better because we lost.

‘We won’t be caught cold again.’

Genge recognised how motivated the hosts were and insisted there would be no shortage of English drive this time.

‘Before 2016, we hadn’t won a series over here,’ he said. ‘That was a big one for us and they were probably quite upset about it, so it meant a lot for them to do us in that first game. Everyone’s asking, “Are you going to be up for the next game?”. Of course we are. We want to win. We’re going to be fired up for it.’

Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou set the scene for a titanic personal battle with Genge

Australia have recalled the massive Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou at tighthead prop and he set the scene for a titanic personal battle with Genge, saying: ‘He’s going to try to give it to me and smash me. I will do exactly the same thing. I want to give it to him.’

The response was measured but lacking any hint of trepidation, as Genge said: ‘You’ve seen what he said. Good for him, but you’ve got to back it up, haven’t you? If he’s going to give me a whack, he’ll give me a whack. I’ve had a few.’

England know they have to turn the tables on the reinforced Wallaby pack or suffer another defeat which would give Australia an unassailable 2-0 series lead. Forwards coach Richard Cockerill set the scene for a backlash up front. ‘We’re an English pack and we want to get in the middle of it,’ he said. ‘It’s about making sure that battle of wills is really strong and making sure we don’t blink first.

‘The physical battles up front are always crucial. Bring it on. We want it to be gladiatorial. We want it to be physical.

‘That is what the game is all about. Let’s enjoy the physical parts, the feisty parts and within the laws of the game, let’s get into it.’

Richard Cockerill warned Tupou that he will have to be at his sharpest against Genge

Having signed Genge for Leicester when he was the Tigers’ director of rugby, Cockerill knows what a primal force of nature the Bristolian can be and he is relishing the prospect of him taking on Tupou.

‘I’m looking forward to that battle — two big ball-carriers, two big, physical men, who are going to get at it,’ he said. ‘That’s what sells tickets, isn’t it?

‘Clearly, he (Tupou) is exceptionally explosive with ball in hand. He is a good set-piece operator, but his impact in the loose, with and without the ball, is pretty good. It should be a good set-piece battle between him and Ellis.

‘Ellis is pretty self-motivated. Tupou has not played for a while, so he’d better turn up and perform if he is going to start challenging Ellis.

‘I’m sure they are saying the same as us. When Gengey gets the ball, they are going to want to whack him. When he (Tupou) gets the ball, we are going to want to whack him.’

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