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TOKYO (AP) — Raised on an inner-city public housing project and educated at a state school, Kyle Sinckler hardly fits into the widely held stereotype of English rugby being a sport for the well-heeled.
His first experience of the oval-ball game came as an angry 8-year-old kid, when he turned up at a local club wearing a Manchester United soccer jersey and seeking an outlet to unleash some pent-up frustrations within the laws of a game.
As many of his peers joined gangs, he found an escape in sport — ultimately, rugby.
“A lot of people, when I was growing up, said I couldn’t do a lot of things,” Sinckler said, “that I wouldn’t amount to anything.”
Fast forward nearly 20 years, Sinckler — a rampaging, 113-kilogram (249-pound) prop forward — has assumed cult status as something of a working-class hero of English rugby and is preparing to line up in a World Cup semifinal against the storied New Zealand All Blacks on Saturday.
He says his aim is to “try and inspire the next generation,” and his performances in Japan might be doing that.
One of the images of this World Cup, at least from an English point of view, was Sinckler scurrying up to
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