Tigers 1880

June 24, 2022

O Captain! My Captain!

One thing that may not yet have fully hit home amidst all our celebrating is that Tigers are now in need of a new captain!

After leading Leicester to the Premiership title, Ellis Genge is heading down south to the club that shall not be named. We all understand the reasons, and he will forever be remembered as a true Tiger, but he will be sorely missed.

Not only has Genge become, arguably, one of the leading loose-head props in the world, his leadership of Leicester throughout this season has been stellar. We are losing a world class player and leader.

It’s fair to say that not many people predicted Steve Borthwick choosing Genge as his captain. It proved an inspired choice—even with the backdrop of his impending departure. 

It now opens the door for a new captain. And I think we all hope that, whoever it is, they will have the reins for more that one season.

Hanro Liebenberg is probably the man in pole position. He’s the current vice captain, is always in the starting line-up, and has all the qualities you’d want from your captain.

As we saw with the choice of Genge though, don’t put it past Borthwick to go with a more left-field choice. 

Who might that be? You have to imagine, whoever he chooses, it’ll be a forward. You get the sense that Borthwick likes his leaders to be in the thick of it. 

If it was to be a back though, what about Dan Kelly? You can see from watching him how vocal he is in leading the backline. He puts his body on the line every game. He is one of the first names on the team sheet when available. He’s young, but if you have the right qualities, age doesn’t matter.

The other back who could be considered would be Jack van Poortvliet. He, like Kelly, is young, but he’s led Tigers a few times already, as well as leading the England under 21’s. He still doesn’t start that many games though. But you have to think that might change next season. 

Assuming Borthwick does go with a forward though, who is he likely to go for if not Liebenberg? Julián Montoya is one name that jumps out. He’s already captain of Argentina. He is probably the best hooker in the world. He would probably be in the lead-by-example mould. You don’t doubt that he’s a player the other players would gladly follow. 

The way that both Calum Green and Harry Wells quietly get on with going about their business in the second row is also exemplary. Neither of them ever let their standards drop. They embody the hard work of this Tigers side better than most. I don’t think Borthwick will go with either of them, but I’d have no problems if he did.

Speaking of second rows, the one other second row who could be considered in this conversation is Ollie Chessum. It might be a left-field choice, it might be too much pressure on young shoulders, but you also feel that Chessum is the forward player the Tigers pack can build around for years and years to come. If he has the right leadership qualities, why not?

What do you think? Are there other players who you think will be under consideration? Who do you think Borthwick is going to go for?

Thanks for reading,
—Sam

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