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Kyle Sinckler issues 'chilled-out demeanour' warning about Samoa

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Kyle Sinckler has warned England not to be fooled by the laid-back off-field nature of Samoa, this Saturday’s Pool D Rugby World Cup opponents in Lille.

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Steve Borthwick’s side have already qualified for an October 15 quarter-final fixture in Marseille with a game to spare, but tighthead Sinckler has issued an appeal for his teammates to be careful given his experiences at Bristol with Samoan pair Steven Luatua and Chris Vui, whom he faces this weekend.

“They are both pretty chilled out, they don’t say too much,” he explained. “Both have leadership roles at Bristol. Don’t tend to say too much, more lead with their actions.

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“Two massively physical players, great lineout options, great hands, good offloading skills, but honestly couldn’t be any more different than they are off the rugby field, literally the most chilled our personalities you will ever meet. They are really, really cool guys.

“When I first joined Bristol there was a big Pacific Islander culture. You have Pat (Lam, director of rugby) and you had Alapati (Leiua), John Afoa, Steve Luatua, Chris Vui, Charles Piutau, Charles’ brother (Siale), there was a big islander influence and with Semi (Radradra), Siva (Naulago) and my time just in rugby, you always are around Pacific Islanders so you kind of have a general idea and one of those things – especially up front – is they are extremely physical.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

2
Wins
2
2
Streak
2
11
Tries Scored
14
26
Points Difference
-4
1/5
First Try
2/5
1/5
First Points
2/5
0/5
Race To 10 Points
2/5

“Don’t be fooled by their nice demeanour and chilled-out demeanour, they can definitely flick the switch and when it is time to go, those guys can really go. It’s going to be a big test for the team that goes out there on Saturday against a hugely physical Samoa side.

“All our focus is on the Samoa game, we don’t want to look too far ahead because the moment you take your eye off the ball, that is kind of when you get in a bit of trouble. It’s great for me personally to be here, to be a part of the team. The last three games we have gone very well but the job in hand is Samoa and that is all our focus.”

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Sinckler added that Luatua and Vui were immensely useful in helping him to settle when first arrived at Bristol in 2020. “100 per cent. Even though Surrey to Bristol is only an hour and a half, two hours, at that time in my life that was a huge move for me. All I knew growing up was Harlequins and living in London or Surrey where the training ground was, and then to move to Bristol was huge.

“Those guys, Chris, Steve, Pat and your Bristolians like your Joe Joyces, your Callum Sheedys even though apparently he is Welsh, your Harry Randalls, those guys, Andy Urens really, really made me feel welcome.

“For me, they showed what it was like to play for Bristol because it is a real community feel and, to be honest, I couldn’t speak more highly of Steve and Chris, they are really stand-up guys and they have always made me feel welcome ever since I joined Bristol.”

Regarding the presence of former All Blacks forward Luatua in the Samoan ranks, Sinckler reckoned the change in the Test rugby eligibility rules is a positive for the sport.

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“Knowing Stevie personally, I know it means a lot to him and Charles as well who made the decision to go back and play for Tonga. Knowing those guys it was more about giving back to their community and where they are from.

“Obviously massively appreciative to play for the All Blacks but the sense I got from those guys was that they wanted to give something back to their community.

“If you just look at the Tonga game against South Africa and how competitive those guys were, look at Samoa in the World Cup and how competitive that team has been, it’s nothing but good for rugby those guys coming back and strengthening those so-called tier two nations.

“It doesn’t feel like that when you are playing against these teams every test match is highly competitive but when you have the likes of Charles and Steve Luatua, Charlie Faumuina has come back to play for them, (Christian) Leali’ifano etc, etc, these guys are world-class players. It’s good to see and it’s good for rugby.”

By coincidence, England will have Manu Tuilagi in their ranks, coming up against the country of his birth and a Samoa team his brothers represented in the past. “Manu has been around the block for a while now but he has never actually played against Samoa so I think he is looking forward to it and it should be fun.”

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Turlough 1 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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