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'They came in as angry guys and are now maturing into very aggressive, consistent players'

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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England head coach Eddie Jones has expressed delight over how props Kyle Sinckler and Ellis Genge have reacted on the field in recent weeks following their omission by Lions tour boss Warren Gatland, but he wishes it didn’t require that type of a setback to respectively get them playing so well for Bristol and Leicester in the Gallagher Premiership.  

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Sinckler played in the drawn Test series versus the All Blacks four years ago and the anger he felt about not making the Lions tour this time around spilled out in an emotional live TV interview just two days after he learned he had not been picked to travel to South Africa.   

The tighthead has just been voted man of the match in Bristol’s win at Bath and he spoke incredibly well about what he had been feeling in the 48 hours since he learned about his non-selection. 

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While Sinckler had received a ‘Save the Date’ letter from the Lions the month before the May 6 squad announcement, loosehead Genge didn’t receive any correspondence sounding out his availability to tour if selected and, similar to his fellow front-rower, he has upped the ante in his club performances at Leicester. 

It’s now four weeks since Gatland made his 2021 Lions squad official and England boss Jones, who has had to defend his recent consultancy work in Japan, has been speaking about what he seen in response from Sinckler and Genge. “Both of those guys particularly, they are going through a maturation stage of their career,” he suggested. 

“They came in as angry guys and they are now maturing into very aggressive, consistent players. I particularly liked the response to their non-selection by playing better rugby and what we want them to do is not to have non-selection to be the stimulus for them to play better rugby, just keep playing better rugby and be the best player in the world that you can be.”

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Jones will name his squad on June 10 for England’s three-game summer series which opens on the same weekend as the Premiership final with an A fixtures versus Scotland A at Leicester before the focus shifts to the July Twickenham Test games versus the USA and Canada.  

While a number of seasoned England players are expected to be given the summer off so that they can get a full pre-season under their belt for the 2021/22 season, Jones admitted he will be calling on Sinckler but he didn’t go so far as to suggest the tighthead could potentially skipper the squad with so many of England’s other front-liners away on Lions duty.   

“All the players who have missed out, I made a point of either I have seen them or I am going to see them in the next period of time and then we will make a decision on who we use and who we don’t use. At this stage, Kyle we will definitely use because he wants to keep playing rugby and he is going to be an important guy for us. At this stage he would definitely be on the tour,” he said before responding to a query on Sinckler potentially being the captain.  

“That is question we have to look at once we finalise the squad. That is something I don’t think is a discussion point at the moment. Once we assemble the squad and get a pretty good idea we will have a look at what we need as a team and then we will select a captain, so I don’t have any preconceptions at the moment.”

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'They came in as angry guys and are now maturing into very aggressive, consistent players'

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