Leicester stay perfect as Ellis Genge’s all-round brilliance crushes Worcester

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<span>Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

With 15 minutes left in the first half, Ellis Genge stood with his backline as his forwards prepared for a lineout just inside their own territory. The ball was won by Hanro Liebenberg and tossed down to Jack van Poortvliet, who fired it flat to his captain.

Genge collected on the gallop and cut against the grain, riding the collision of two Worcester defenders, only crashing to the ground after stomping over the gainline. When he stood back up he had won a penalty and sported a weeping cut below his eye.

Related: Relentless Exeter turn on the power to edge out Wasps in thriller

Genge was immense in a win that included seven tries. Steve Borthwick’s decision to hand the captaincy to such an outspoken and potentially volatile character has proved a masterstroke. With five wins from five matches and 23 points from a possible 25, Genge is at the wheel of the early pace-setters.

George Ford, flawless from open play with such a dominant pack in front of him, opened the scoring on five minutes with a simple penalty after sustained Tigers dominance at the breakdown.

Six minutes later Harry Potter found a crack in a heap of forwards and skipped unopposed for the first try.

Worcester could not match the intensity of their guests. Jasper Wiese, making his first appearance of the season after his spell with South Africa, demonstrated why the Springbok coaching staff consider him the heir of Duane Vermeulen’s No 8 jersey. Along with compatriots Marco van Staden and Liebenberg, he routinely drove his team forward.

Another international earning his first cap of the campaign scored Leicester’s second try. The Argentinian Matías Moroni was at the end of a swift backline move on 26 minutes that began near the right touchline and finished on the left.

Shortly before the break Julián Montoya capped off a rumbling maul to make it a lucrative period for Los Pumas imports.

Worcester showed greater intent after the restart and earned a man advantage when Liebenberg was sent to the sin-bin for repeated infringements under his own posts. All that did was pull the Tigers’ tails.

Nemani Nadolo was quiet for most of the contest but stole the show for the last half-hour. Two rampaging runs set up tries for Richard Wigglesworth and Nic Dolly courtesy of one-handed passes. For the first he lined up Worcester’s Harri Doel on the touchline, evoking memories of Jonah Lomu on Mike Catt. The diminutive full-back held on to the tangled tackle but could not prevent the assist inside.

Nadolo got his deserved score with nine minutes left, the beneficiary of some neat interchanges.

The Leicester bench, already frothing by this point, made enough noise to compensate for the dejected home crowd. Freddie Burns emphasised the gulf between the sides by scoring his team’s seventh six minutes from time.

“I really do try and keep it simple in my own mind,” Borthwick said, ignoring the bait about his title aspirations after such an impressive start and a display his opposite number, Jonathan Thomas, called “one of the most complete performances from a Premiership team in a long time”.

Borthwick does not want to say it, but after four fallow years, the once dynastic Tigers have seemingly rediscovered their bite. Whisper it quietly, Leicester are back.

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