Kyle Sinckler ready to step up from understudy to headline act for touring Lions
Kyle Sinckler is ready to go from understudy to headline act on this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour.
The England prop appeared in all three Tests against New Zealand for the 2017 Lions – and four years on his Bristol boss, Pat Lam, says he can start against South Africa.
“There is no dead cert in any position, the Lions is the best of the best in the northern hemisphere, the ultimate,” said Lam.
“It’s also not my call, but is Kyle good enough to be a starter for the Lions? Without a doubt.”
Lam, who is preparing his Bears team for Sunday’s European Cup last-16 clash at Bordeaux, believes Sinckler has matured greatly since the Lions last went on safari.
He points to how the 28-year-old calmly dealt with Joe Marler winding him up for the whole of last week’s game against Harlequins – and then made him pay with the winning try.
“Kyle kept his composure and got the last laugh at the end,” said Lam. “It was good to see the way he handled all that.
“I remember when he was away with England in the autumn and talked about having been ‘at only 20 per cent’ for Bristol.
"We were like ‘jeez, that’s a low number’, because we thought he’d been brilliant. He then came back to us and was another level.
“I’ve got so much time for him. He’s such a great role model to the boys and absolutely loves it here – so much, in fact, that he’s bought a house just round the corner from the training ground.”
It means he has easy access to the sauna that Bristol's players have clubbed together to buy.
“He has his own at home," said Lam. "But uses this one to save his power!”
Manu Tuilagi and Sale are in advanced talks over the England star extending his stay at the club.
Tuilagi’s season has been wrecked by a torn Achilles and he is not expected to play again for another month.
But Sharks boss Alex Sanderson said: “If Manu wants to stay, and from what I gather he does, he’s one of the world’s best players and you’d be crazy not to make a bid for him.”
European Cup chiefs have moved their finals weekend away from Marseille for a second consecutive year due to the pandemic.
They will decide on a venue once the finalists are known. Marseille will try again in 2022, with Tottenham Hotspur hosting in 2023.
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