Kyle Sinckler prepared for heavy World Cup workload
England prop ready to play back-to-back games as one of just two tightheads in squad
England’s Kyle Sinckler with team-mate Mark Wilson during their victory over Italy. Photograph: Steve Bardens/RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images
Kyle Sinckler has insisted he is relishing the prospect of playing two matches in five days at the start of England’s World Cup campaign, claiming he is well prepared to do so after his role with the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand two years ago.
As one of only two tighthead props in England’s 31-man squad, Sinckler can expect to be involved against Tonga on September 22nd and the USA four days later. Eddie Jones has acknowledged he gambled by taking only two players in such a specialised position – he has also done so with scrumhalves – and Joe Marler is acting as emergency tighthead cover.
With an enforced seven-day lay-off mandatory if players fail head injury assessments, the risk in taking only two tightheads is all the greater and if Sinckler or Dan Cole were to pick up a longer injury, Jones may have to permanently replace them in the squad. England are not the only team to have taken a risk with their squad – Australia are also taking two No 9s, for example – but it is understood that since the 2015 World Cup, all unions have been offered the chance to increase the number of players they are allowed to take beyond 31 but declined.
“The Lions helped me with that because we had pretty short turnarounds on that tour – sometimes Wednesday to Saturday,” he said. “Sometimes guys had to double up and in some cases triple up. It won’t be an issue for me, I’ll just have to focus on my recovery and keep my head down. I’m a rugby player. I want to play rugby. I’m not very good at just sitting around. I want to keep busy.
“Sport is a funny old thing. Two years ago feels like 20 years. It was nice to be involved but [the Lions] made me want to work even harder to fulfil my potential and continue playing well for Harlequins and my country.”
England have already had an injury scare over Sinckler after he appeared to pick up a calf injury late in the 37-0 win against Italy last Friday, enabling Marler to return to the pitch and get a few minutes under his belt at tighthead. Against Italy, Sinckler demonstrated how much of a senior figure he has become for England, coming off the bench and adding some dynamism.
“One of my biggest work-ons is to sometimes sit back and give myself a pat on the back,” added Sinckler, who also starred in England’s record victory over Ireland last month. “I don’t stand still and tell myself I’m doing well, it’s on to the next thing. I tell myself: ‘It was an okay performance, I need to improve on this and be better on that.’ I know I still have a long way to go and I have a job to do, whether it is starting or coming off the bench or running on with the water. I’m ready to do whatever for the team.” – Guardian