Kyle Sinckler on raw emotions, British and Irish Lions experience and his 2019 difficulties
After missing out on the original 37-man Lions squad to tour South Africa this summer, Kyle Sinckler publicly displayed his emotions in a post-match interview for Bristol days later. The prop was then called up as an injury-replacement, and spoke to Sky about raw emotions and much more.
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 03/07/21 6:16pm
England and British and Irish Lions tighthead Kyle Sinckler speaks exclusively to Sky Sports in South Africa about his emotions, Lions experience and 2019 difficulties...
Having initially been a shock omission from the original 37-man Lions squad, Sinckler was interviewed as man of the match after Bristol played Bath, two days after the announcement.
During the post-match interview, Sinckler was close to tears and full of emotion.
Watch every Lions tour match live, only on Sky Sports
Get Sky Sports today from just £18 extra a month
A subsequent injury to Leinster and Ireland's Andrew Porter on club duty paved the way for Sinckler's eventual call-up in 2021.
Did Sinckler surprise himself with his emotions?
"I tried to be myself," Sinckler told Sky Sports.
"Emotions were raw trying to process my omission from the squad. I spoke from the heart. It's funny how quickly things change and now I'm in South Africa.
"I got a call from an unknown number, thought it was someone trying to sell me something, and it was Gats [Warren Gatland] which was a pleasant surprise.
"You never want to wish ill on anyone so to get the call-up was a shock.
"My motivation isn't to prove anyone wrong, it's to enjoy the experience. I'm trying to enjoy every moment. My experience of the last tour is the games start, you blink and the tour's over."
Back in 2017, Sinckler toured as one of three Lions tightheads to New Zealand with compatriot Dan Cole and Ireland's Tadhg Furlong.
Furlong started all three Tests on that occasion, with Sinckler emerging from the bench in all three.
At 24 years old in 2017, Sinckler feels he has matured considerably in the four years since.
"I'm a totally different person," Sinckler said.
"I feel like I'm becoming a man, whereas in 2017 I looked like a man but had childish tendencies.
"I'm able to process and deal with my background and upbringing. I use my background as a motivation.
"You learn from your mistakes and I've made a lot of mistakes. Hopefully when people see me they see someone who is very honest and up front."
Sinckler came off the bench for the Lions last week vs Japan in Murrayfield, and will make his first tour start vs the Sigma Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event.
"I don't think I'm back to my best or anywhere near where I want to be as a tighthead prop. But I've got that fire.
"I probably suppressed that fire and for me that doesn't help my game.
"The tightheads are getting on well, and I went to Vegas with Tadhg Furlong after the last tour. Everyone wants to start but everyone has to be an open book, pulling in the same direction.
"I want to start, but I wasn't meant to be here in the first place, I'm literally in heaven."
In 2019, Sinckler was arguably the form tighthead in world rugby, performing superbly during the Rugby World Cup in Japan as England made the final against South Africa.
Less than three minutes into the showpiece game of the tournament, however, Sinckler was knocked out cold and had to depart the final. From then, the Springboks got a considerable edge over England at the scrum and claimed the World Cup.
"2019 was difficult for me," says Sinckler.
"You build up your whole life to that one moment, the World Cup Final. I got so close - but I can't remember it.
"The thing about sport is it's all about the story. I got knocked out, I didn't initially get in this squad and now I'm in and it's against South Africa - it's a great story but I just want to play.
"I just want to enjoy my rugby."