Kyle Sinckler to get protection from ‘dirty tricks’ if Wales target him again
Kyle Sinckler will have bodyguards on hand if Wales try to target him today as they did a year ago.
The Lions prop said he ‘let down’ his team and his country after rising to the bait laid for him by Warren Gatland’s Grand Slam-bound side in Cardiff.
Gatland, who branded him an ‘emotional timebomb’, has since gone but streetwise captain Alun Wyn Jones, who goaded Sinckler into conceding two key penalties before Eddie Jones hooked him, is back for more.
This time both player and team are better prepared with Courtney Lawes insisting: “Kyle knows where the line is now and where he needs to be in terms of that line.
“He’s come a long way. He’s always been a pretty feisty character and is still, because he needs to be; it’s part of what makes him such a great player.
“But he’s able to control it and the fact teams haven’t even tried it on with him in this Six Nations is testament to how he’s matured.”
The 26-year-old proved as much by reacting to provocation from Australia in the quarter-final of the World Cup not by losing his rag, but scoring the winning try.
However the real test comes now with the return of Jones and his fellow Welsh wind-up merchants.
With that in mind George Ford has warned that if any player goes for Sinckler he will have the rest of the England team to reckon with.
“Sink probably reflected on that game last year from an individual point of view and learnt massively from it,” said the fly-half. “We learnt from it as a team too.
“We have become more aware that those things are going to happen and what can we do as a team to make sure it doesn’t escalate to the point where it will cost us.
“We have discussed what we would do to look after individuals, as you don’t want to get to a game without talking about and then think ‘Jesus, what is going on here?’
“You have to anticipate it and be aware of it otherwise before you know it five or ten minutes has gone, momentum has shifted and you are in that sort of a game again.”
Sinckler has been kept away from the media all tournament, doing all his talking on the pitch where he has made the tighthead spot his own and secured himself a big-money summer move to Bristol.
England will hope that form continues as they attempt to leapfrog France and apply pressure to the unbeaten leaders, who do not play until tomorrow.
Key to this, ironically, will be their success in winding up Wales’ playmaker Dan Biggar who is surely not 100 per cent recovered from his knee injury a week ago.
“Anything we can do to get him off his game is going to be beneficial to us,” said Courtney Lawes. "I’ll certainly be hoping to put a shot on him.”
England: Daly; Watson, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), May; Ford, Youngs; Marler, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Kruis, Lawes, Wilson, Curry.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Launchbury, Ewels, Earl, Heinz, Slade
Wales: Halfpenny; North, Tompkins, Parkes, L Williams; Biggar, T Williams; R Evans, Owens, Lewis, Ball, AW Jones (capt), Moriarty, Navidi, Tipuric.
Replacements: Elias, Carre, Brown, Shingler, Faletau, Webb, J Evans, McNicholl.
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