England prop Genge takes on Excel in League of Legends
England prop Ellis Genge will take on Excel Esports’ staff team in a League of Legends tournament on Twitch on Thursday.
The RFU suspended all levels of competitive rugby in England this week due to coronavirus so Genge has turned to streaming video games in his spare time.
The 25-year-old has admitted he is a huge fan of Riot’s MOBA, League of Legends and has been playing a lot of it now he is not able to train.
“I’m not training yet,” Genge said.”The clubs are all shut at the moment so I’ve been smashing League of Legends.”
Genge joins a list of high-profile athletes who have paired up with professional esports teams to make content amidst the coronavirus outbreak including Thibault Courtois who played League with G2’s Ibai.How did @thibautcourtois go that long with no items? ğŸ¤¦â€�â™‚ï¸�Our Spanish Creators stream highlights are here! — G2 Esports (@G2esports) March 18, 2020
However, Genge has been playing the game for a long time and explained how he fell in love with League of Legends.
“I’ve been playing for about four years now,” he said.”A few of the other boys in the Leicester squad play as well – we all brought PCs around four years ago when I moved to Leicester.
“I’ve always been quite into gaming – I was a PS4 and Xbox 360 player before that.One of the boys showed me League of Legends, which I’ve never played before but I just fell in love with it and have stuck with it ever since then – I just can’t get enough!”
Genge, who mains Shaco, finished last season in Plat 4 – only 7 per cent of the League of Legends player base reach this particular tier.
Not only that, but Genge also revealed that he prefers watching esports to traditional sports, citing League of Legends as one of his favourite amongst CSGO, Overwatch and Call of Duty.Who’s better at League of Legends? Excel staff or professional rugby players? ğŸ–±ï¸�ğŸ�‰ğŸ‘� BO3 seriesğŸ�™ï¸� Streamed and castedğŸ�† Winner takes home their prideFind out at 7pm GMT: — Excel Esports (@EXCEL) March 19, 2020
He said: “I watch competitive League of Legends but I don’t really get to watch the full games because it’s always on when I’m training especially the Korean games.
“I watch Excel as much as I can – I always watch the extended highlights if I can’t watch the full games.I like watching the academy team play as well, I saw Sendo’s backdoor which was pretty good – I was actually there live for that game which was decent.”
Some might be surprised that the England rugby player is such a big fan of esports.Excel’s head of operations Grant Rousseau believes it’s a massive advantage to drive something like League of Legends more into the mainstream.
He said: “I think it just shows how normalised esports is becoming now.
It’s just going to be something that everyone takes part in and enjoy.Seeing someone like Ellis playing is just a really good sign – I know how seriously he’s taking it as well, he’s been practising and sending pictures of his scores today so you know he’s in the mode!” Excel are one of ten teams competing in the LEC (Credit: Riot Games)
Others who aren’t familiar with esports might not be able to see the connection between rugby and gaming but Genge insists that he’s not the only one who enjoys both.
He said: “In rugby, there’s always three different types of people.
You’ve got your farmers, who obviously love farming, you got your gamers, as it says on the tin, love gaming.We all isolate ourselves and we’re quite tight in that community.And then you get your people who do really do any of it and go and watch sports and stuff whereas I don’t watch any sports, all I watch is esports and play League of Legends.”
With rugby along with most other traditional sports currently suspended due to coronavirus, Genge reckons it’s the perfect time for companies to invest in esports but he has ruled himself out for any chance of going pro in League.League of Legends is one of the biggest esports in the world (Credit: Riot Games)
“Digital Marketing is definitely the way forward in the industry, especially with coronavirus going on.I don’t think people take it seriously enough because there’s a lot of old heads at the top of the businesses who don’t really want to invest in it.It’s quite addictive though when you’re in the mix though so I think people should definitely think about putting their finger in the pie.
“I think my fingers are a bit too damaged from all the scrummaging to be able to play esports professionally.
At the moment, some of my fingers haven’t got their tendons in so I can’t really hit the keyboard on point as I should.”
This won’t be the first time Genge has worked with Excel, the 25-year-old has visited their offices in Twickenham and recalls the reason why both parties have been so involved with each other.
He said: “I was in camp with England before the World Cup and myself, Lewis Ludlam and Jonathan Joseph were at Twickenham, in the shop just signing stuff.One of the people who worked there told me that there was a League of Legends team upstairs, and I was like ‘Listen, I’m going to cut this appearance short, I’ve got to go upstairs’.
“He took me up there, I met the Excel founder Kieran who was nice enough to show me around and I’ve been keeping an eye on the boys ever since them.I need a bit of coaching I think, possibly from Deadly if I move to the ADC role.”
Genge will be streaming a tournament against Excel’s staff and Rousseau urges those who aren’t familiar with the game to still tune in and watch.
He said: “If you’re a fan of Ellis and you don’t know League, that’s fine.I’m not going to lie, it’s probably going to be quite a tough first watch.
You might not get what’s going on the first time but you’ll be able to pick up and see the basics of the game and ultimately if you’re a fan of Ellis you’ll want to see him win so tune in, watch him play, watch him win which I hope not for our staff.But regardless, you’ll be able to see the fun and competitive side that it has to offer.”
Excel will be streaming the best of three series against Ellis Genge and two other professional rugby players from 7pm on Thursday at twitch.tv/excel_esports Trending.