Owen Farrell This is another magnificent component!
When England cross the Severn on Saturday, there will not quite be the same feeling on the England team bus. There is something special about a Wales versus England clash inside the Principality Stadium, but when it comes in the form of a second Rugby World Cup warm—up clash in six days, the stakes are somewhat reduced.
Both teams will have their different motives for Saturday’s collision. Wales will be keen to show the rusty performance at Twickenham last weekend was a one-off, while England will hope to continue their foray into building new relationships between players who are combining for just the second time in some key areas–in the back-row and at half-back in particular.
There’s also the threat of injury looming over Cardiff, and with Gareth Anscombe’s World Cup-wrecking knee damage fresh in the memory, all 46 players involved on Saturday will be keen to emerge from the clash with a clean bill of health, which naturally will lower the intensity ever so slightly.
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But there is one player who is raring to go. Kyle Sincklerhadto sit and watch at Twickenham after being left out of the matchday squad, which is not something the tighthead prop does too well.
“I’m a rugby player. I want to play rugby,”Sinckler said.“I’m not very good at just sitting around. I want to keep busy.”
That’s handy then, because in Japan he will be one of just two tighthead props in the England squad after Eddie Jones made the surprise decision to omit Harry Williams from his 31-man squad. Sinckler is set to travel to Japan as the first-choice No 3, although Dan Cole’s resurgence this year does give him something to worry about with the Leicester prop starting once again on Saturday.
If Sinckler comes on it will be his 23rd cap for England in a story that started off three years ago, which includes plenty of highs and lows along the way. “Obviously my first cap will stand out,” recalled the Harlequins prop.“South Africa at home. I remember waiting on the bench for a while–we were winning by 23 points and I thought ‘I am going to get on quite early here’. Then it went to 20 minutes left, 15,10 andI was like ‘oh my god I am not going to get on!’
“I ended up playing nine minutes. It was nerve-wracking waiting.”
Then came the British and Irish Lions tour, where Sinckler emerged as one of the world’s brightest young tightheads in the game. But he had already experienced another career high a few months before, when England went to Cardiff and stunned Warren Gatland’s side in the form of a thrilling 21-16 victory.
“Winning in Cardiff a couple of years ago, when Elliot Daly scored in the corner, that was good,” he added.“Winning the Six Nations was a big achievement for me as that was the first thing I had won as a player.
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