Bristol Bears' Ellis Genge set to captain England rugby team for the first time

Ellis Genge in action for Bristol Bears earlier this year. Credit: PA Images

Bristol Bears' Ellis Genge has been chosen to captain the England rugby team for the first time.

The 28-year-old, who was born in Knowle West, will lead the team out against opponents France in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

It marks the latest step in the meteoric rise for the Bristol-born prop but for those in the area who coached him growing up, his success is no surprise.

Genge's career started for Old Redcliffian's Rugby Club in Brislington. A coach at the club, Jim Hanks, told ITV News West Country how proud everyone linked to the team is of their most successful product.

"We are tremendously proud of one of our own. Coming through our club to England is a massive achievement," he said.

"He was not a solo player and he was always a team player. He supported everyone both on the pitch and off it as well.

"He was always one of the first people at training at matches and he was always one of the last to leave. He just loved rugby."

The player, affectionately nicknamed the 'Baby Rhino', attended John Cabot Academy in Kingswood.

  • Watch staff and pupils at Genge's former school talking about the new England captain

Genge has been one of England's standout performers during this year's Six Nations and has impressed new coach Steven Borthwick who was full of praise for him at the press conference before the match.

"This weekend he is captaining the team for the first time and I am absolutely delighted for him, he is a fantastic leader," he said.

"I think he is a natural leader and he someone who players follow."

After achieving great success as the captain of Leicester Tigers in the Premiership, Genge returned to his boyhood club in 2022.

His return was greeted with delight by Bears fans and the club's Director of Rugby Pat Lam. Speaking at the time he said: "Ellis is a World Class player who has grown to be a leader on and off the field for club and country.

"He obviously will add real value to us as a team and the whole Bristol Bears community.

“The thing that impressed me most about Ellis was his genuine love for Bristol and our people."

On his own return, Genge said: "I’m so proud of my roots in Bristol and what the city means to me and my family.

"I have close relationships at the Bears and I’ve got unfinished business here."