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The eye-catching Sinckler: 'That made me really proud of Kyle'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

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England will take the field at Twickenham on Saturday with eight of the same starters that took on the Springboks in the World Cup final two years ago, but that nightmare contest is something that Kyle Sinckler has little or no recollection of as he was concussed after just three minutes due to a clash of heads. 

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The 28-year-old Sinckler will hope his contribution in this weekend’s Autumn Nations Series finale will turn out to be far more memorable, especially as the success of the England front row is massively dependent on how he gets on. 

With 45 England caps, Sinckler is by far the most experienced front row starter in Eddie Jones’ team as he will pack down alongside Jamie Blamire, the 23-year-old hooker with just three caps, and the 21-year-old loosehead Bevan Rodd, who only made his Test debut in last weekend’s win over the Wallabies. 

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Freddie Burns on whether the Springboks will target Maro Itoje and Marcus Smith
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Freddie Burns on whether the Springboks will target Maro Itoje and Marcus Smith

England scrum coach Matt Proudfoot will be egging Sinckler on at every turn. He was working for the Springboks when they clinched the world title but the misfortune that occurred that day in Japan to the tighthead is a memory that the ex-Scotland front-rower hasn’t forgotten.   

“I felt very bad for Kyle,” said Proudfoot, looking back 24 months ago to the last occasion England took on the Springboks. “I thought he had an exceptional World Cup. When he played against Australia, I can remember him cutting that line (to score) and how he played against the All Blacks was impressive. 

“He was probably one of the standout forwards in the World Cup. I really felt for him, a player who had put so much into a campaign was taken away in such a strange moment. I really felt for the player. My experience with Kyle is I have seen a young man who has just grown and developed. What really impressed me about him last Saturday was the way he carried on. He picked up a knock but he knew that the team needed him and he just stuck in there for the team.

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“That says a lot about the person, that says a lot about what Eddie has put into this team about resilience. We are there to fight, we are there to get onto the line and fight and seeing one of your most senior players doing that speaks volumes. That made me really proud of Kyle on Saturday.”

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