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England will guarantee their place in the last eight with a victory over the Pumas after Mario Ledesma’s side lost their opening fixture with France, in stark contrast to England who have taken 10 points from a possible 10.
But Saturday’s encounter at the Tokyo Stadium will come as a sizeable step up in opposition for England, having comfortably beaten Tonga and the USA so far. Argentina also beat Tonga on Saturday, doing so with a 26-minute bonus point before the scoring strangely dried up, though if one thing was prominent in their display in Osaka it was the power of their driving maul. England also demonstrated that strength in the win over the United States with two tries created from their forward dominance, and Sinckler predicts a clash of the powerhouse packs when they collide.
“We are under no illusion it is going to be a really tough game. They are playing for their lives,” said Sinckler.
“That’s what we do. That’s what the lineout is there to do. You can play off the top or you can maul it. When we get close to the try line, we back ourselves and our maul.
“Like most forwards packs, it is tough five-to-ten metes out to stop a maul when it is going forward.
“It is something that we put massive emphasis on as a forward pack. It just gets our game going, when our tank and our maul and our scrum get going. We get into a good flow and a good rhythm. It’s something, especially in the first 20-30 minutes, that we always try to get our teeth stuck in to it.
“It’s rugby union at the end of the day.”
Sinckler will win his 28th cap for England against the Pumas on what has been a steady yet steep rise to becoming Eddie Jones’s first-choice tighthead prop. The Harlequins forward is perhaps unrivalled with his ball-carrying skills when it comes to his position, with only Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong coming close, but it took him a while to learn that the more aesthetical skills within his game were not the ones that would get him selected by Jones.
“The main thing is that, as a tighthead prop playing for England, your bread and butter is your scrum,” adds Sinckler. “In his opinion, until my scrummaging was at a level where I could start consistently, I don’t think he would have given me a chance.
“I had to work extremely hard on that part of my game – probably something that doesn’t come as naturally to me, but something that I pride myself on now. My go-to now is my set piece first, and once I get that going, everything else falls into place.”
As mentioned, it took some time for those foundations to fall into place. Sinckler has spoken fully of his childhood and how he has rugby to thank for sending him down the right path. It explains his love of the game and interest within it that marks him out of the nause of the current squad: if there’s a game you want to talk about, Sinckler’s seen it, a player to discuss, Sinckler knows everything about him.
This rugby intelligence helps his drive to take his game to the next level, but he has had to learn how to do that. Not so long ago, Sinckler wasn’t an England international, wasn’t a British and Irish Lion and wasn’t even getting into the Harlequins squad, and he didn’t know why.
“It’s been one hell of a journey from when I couldn’t even get a game for Quins,” he said. “I was always on the bench. To be at a World Cup, to have played for the Lions, to have won 27 caps – hopefully I’ll get a load more than that – but it’s been amazing.
“But 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 does
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