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Such has been Kyle Sinckler’s rapid rise to become England’s cornerstone that it might be easy to take him for granted, writes Charlie Talbot-Smith.
But it pays to remember that less than three years ago, the tighthead prop could barely get a start for Harlequins let alone his country.
In a surprisingly short space of time therefore, he has risen to the dizzy heights of a British & Irish Test Lion, cemented himself as England’s go-to in the No.3 jersey and become a key cog in the ‘tank’ that he hopes will lead Eddie Jones’ side bid for an historic World Cup crown.
It hasn’t all come easily for the 26-year-old though, and he knows that better than anyone.
“Sometimes I think that’s my biggest work-on, is to reflect and give myself a little pat on the back for 5-10 seconds,” he said.
“It’s been one hell of a journey from when I couldn’t even get a game for Quins. I was always on the bench. To be at a World Cup, to have played for the Lions to have won, I think, 28 caps – hopefully I’ll get a load more than that but it’s been amazing.
“I didn’t realise how much hard work it would require. When I was a lot younger, looking back now, I was probably very selfish and quite arrogant in terms of how good I thought I was.
“When I look back I was nowhere near as good as I thought I was. I always thought it was someone else’s fault. The coach doesn’t like me, this is rubbish, I should be playing etc.”
A key turning point for Sinckler was undoubtedly the arrival of Adam Jones at the Stoop.
The legendary Welsh tighthead arrived first as a rival then as Sinckler’s coach, and brought the youngster back to basics.
Sinckler added: “(Adam) gave me a little kick up the backside and then Eddie (Jones) gave me a chance. Before that Australia tour in 2016 I think I started one game for Quins that year. He gave me a taste and I thought ‘I need to step my game up’.
“I was lucky I had some really good people around me and it all fell into place at the right time. If it hadn’t, I don’t know where my career would have gone.
“Eddie giving me that chance…look at the likes of Lewis Ludlam, he can find a diamond in the rough so to speak. Luds hasn’t looked out of place and has done extremely well.
“It just takes that one person to believe in you and give you a chance. I’m just grateful I got that opportunity.”
The Australia tour in 2016, when Jones’ men won 3-0 to crea
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