Ellis Genge insists Freddie Steward should NOT have been sent off in pivotal incident of defeat

Ellis Genge insisted Freddie Steward should not have been sent off in the pivotal incident of their defeat by Ireland.

Genge, the England prop, said his team-mate showed no malice when he struck Hugo Keenan’s head and actually tried to turn away from the Irishman.

Though Genge refused to blame the incident just before halftime for the loss, he also suggested his teammates agreed with him.

“I think we all agree on the red card. We play contact sports. I don’t want anyone getting hit on the head, and I certainly don’t want anyone hitting elbows and shoulders, but Freddie did absolutely no meanness – no meanness at all.

“He didn’t want to hurt anyone; He actually tried to back off and not hurt the guy so it was a complete accident for me and I don’t think he can be punished like that. But a red is a red and we just had to deal with that.

Ellis Genge insisted Freddie Steward should not have been sent off against Ireland
Genge said his teammate showed no malice when he connected to Hugo Keenan’s head

“I feel for the referee to a certain extent. You have a decision to make and he would probably get hammered by his superiors if he didn’t make that decision.

“There’s a lot going on about head injuries at the moment, so I understand it to a degree. It’s not a red for me, but I won’t apologize because I think we had a chance to win.

Genge conceded that the performance had improved after the disastrous defeat by France last time out. He said: “We got a couple of shots in the stomach from outside the camp last week; People who take a few jabs at us and wonder if we’re up to speed or not. Well, we stayed with the best team in the world with 14 men for about 40 minutes. I’m really proud of the boys.’

Ireland manager Andy Farrell, meanwhile, has warned the rugby world that his team have “bigger fish to cook” after winning a historic Grand Slam.

With a celebratory can of Guinness in hand, Farrell toasted Ireland’s 29-16 win before turning his thoughts to this year’s World Cup.

Prompting captain Johnny Sexton to lead the country to their first-ever Webb Ellis Cup, Farrell said: “I was just telling Johnny there were bigger fish to fry, you know? We’re at the World Cup. We’ll enjoy the next 48 hours 100 per cent, but we’re a good side who are far from reaching our potential. You know, everyone will be better off in the summer.

“We’re going to spend a lot more time together, so we expect our team to be a lot better than us in the first game of the World Cup. That’s the reality.”

Sexton passed Ronan O’Gara as the Six Nations’ leading points-scorer, landing a nine-point pull from the tee to take his tally to 566.

It was the No. 10’s final game in that competition and Farrell said: “That’s what dreams are made of. It’s incredibly fitting that, in my opinion, the best player who has ever played for Ireland can opt out of a Grand Slam on St Patrick’s Day.

Ireland manager Andy Farrell has warned the rugby world his team have ‘bigger fish to fry’.
He challenged captain Johnny Sexton to next lead the country to their first-ever Webb Ellis Cup
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