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Bears' verdict on how Sinckler is coping with Bristol's adversity

By Liam Heagney

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It’s a weird one for England and Lions prop Kyle Sinckler, who joined Bristol during the lockdown of 2020 with the view to accelerating his career. His old club Harlequins have since stolen his thunder, eliminating the Bears from the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals last June and going on to clinch their first title since 2012. Salt was then rubbed into that wound just last weekend, Bristol getting hammered by Quins with the 28-year-old Sinckler back at The Stoop for the first time since the Londoner took the huge decision to leave behind everything he knew and try something different.

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Challenging for trophies was the expectation at Ashton Gate but Bristol are in a pickle just now having won just once in their opening four matches of the latest Premiership season, a run that sees the club which finished on top of the regular season ladder last term drifting in twelfth place 14 points shy of Leicester, the early pace-setters.  

Set to soon be away on England duty for their autumn internationals, Sinckler had no hesitation getting on the Bristol bus for the near 300-mile spin north for Saturday’s clash with Newcastle.

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Louis Rees-Zammit as you have never seen him before
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Louis Rees-Zammit as you have never seen him before

His determination to do his best for the club was evident in his earlier than planned return to play with them following his recent tour with the Lions and coach Pat Lam has now delivered a glowing assessment regarding the leadership the prop has shown lately in an effort to get Bristol over their early-season hump.  

“This is where the leaders step up because you see how people react more in adversity and Kyle is one of many that I am seeing that is really stepping up and making a huge difference,” enthused Lam. “People see him on the field but I see him here (at the training centre) and he has been phenomenal in that sense and that is what I like, that is what I get excited by. 

“It’s all opportunity. It’s an opportunity when you are in adversity to see who will step up, who will see it as an opportunity for real growth. Really pleased with what he [Sinckler[ is doing and what he is saying but more important are his actions and I am loving the mentorship from the guys who have been here before, guys that have won stuff, that are guiding the others through. It’s easy for me to say. People will go, ‘What is he excited about results-wise?’ But it is what I see and I am fortunate enough to experience that on a day-to-day basis when we go through these times.”

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The left-Quins-joined-Bristol thing isn’t an issue for Sinckler, added Lam. “When we won last season against Quins (in March) he scored that try as well, so it’s not a thought for him. Like, we all end up moving in our careers. It’s more about what you are doing with the group that you are with. He was phenomenal for Quins. 

“I know when I went from Newcastle to Northampton it was a completely different group and it was a completely different role that I had to play, that Ian McGeechan wanted me to play when I went to Northampton compared to what I was asked at Newcastle. But you judge it by the impact that you can have within the group. Kyle is having a great impact here for us on and off the field.”

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Bears' verdict on how Sinckler is coping with Bristol's adversity

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