Sinckler determined that England ‘tank’ will keep on rolling
Kyle Sinckler insists England’s forward “tank” will continue blasting a path through the World Cup as a quarter-final place beckons for Eddie Jones’ title contenders.
Victory over Argentina in Tokyo on Saturday could guarantee passage into the knockout phase with the climax to Pool C against France still to play.
Evidence of England’s pack strength was visible on Thursday when the United States were over-run by the rolling maul and scrum and while stiffer tests await over the next two weekends, it was a powerful statement of intent.
As first-choice tighthead, Sinckler is at the heart of the effort to dominate the forward battle.
“Scrum and maul – it’s our DNA. It’s rugby union and mauling is what we do. It gets our game going when our tank, our maul and our scrum get going,” Sinckler said.
“We get into a good flow and a good rhythm. It’s something, especially in the first 20 to 30 minutes, that we always try to get our teeth stuck into.
“When we get close to the try line, we back ourselves and our maul because it’s tough to stop a maul 5 to10 metes out when it is going forward.
“It’s something that we put massive emphasis on as a forward pack. When I first came into camp the emphasis was on the English DNA.
“Scrum and maul and then everything else is a bonus. There has been a progression over the last few years and Eddie is always on to us as a pack, saying we always want to assert ourselves through our scrum.”
Argentina were edged out by France on the opening weekend but have kept themselves in contention for a quarter-final place by dispatching Tonga 28-12.
“We are under no illusion – it’s going to be a really tough game because they are playing for their lives,” Sinckler said.
“You have got to look after your set-piece, your scrum, your maul, your ruck – especially against these guys because they have a massive pack and can scrum for penalties, maul for penalties.
“And they have added that little bit to their game where they can off-load and play what they see. They’re also very fit.”
Sinckler could emerge as a star of the World Cup, his aggression and carrying matched by a growing set-piece expertise that has enabled him to supplant Dan Cole as England’s first choice tighthead.
But just three years ago the Harlequins front row stood at a crossroads as his career threatened to fade into obscurity until Eddie Jones uncovered a “diamond in the rough”.
“Eddie gave me a chance. Before the 2016 Australia tour I started one game for Quins that year. He gave me a taste and I thought ‘I need to step my game up’,” Sinckler said.
“Luckily in that autumn after the Australia tour I got capped. 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.
“Look at the likes of (World Cup bolter) Lewis Ludlam – Eddie can find a diamond in the rough so to speak. Lewis 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.
“I didn’t play on that Australia tour but I got a taste of the training, the nutrition and little things like the importance of sleep.
“Before, I used to think sleep was over-rated, now I need to get my eight hours no matter what.
“Before, 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.”