Eddie Jones believes the way Kyle Sinckler handled his British and Irish Lions rejection and subsequent selection can be the making of him.
Jones had expected the Bristol prop to play a senior role in the England squad he named yesterday to prepare for July Tests against USA and Canada.
He was the one player he had been prepared to confirm when discussing his summer plans a week ago.
But all that changed on Sunday when Andrew Porter’s injury meant Lions boss Warren Gatland came calling for the 28-year old south Londoner.
Gatland had watched Sinckler channel his huge disappointment at being initially left out into some of his best form. When he earned his reprieve he struck the same emotionally mature tone.
Jones reckons Gatland could not have failed to be impressed, saying: “It probably made it a no-brainer for Warren seeing the reaction of Sincks. That attitude and desire to be at his best.
“It probably made him think ‘if I get a problem here, he is going to be first on the boat’.
“Sincks will tell you himself that this has been an important stage of his career. Maybe he was starting to get a little bit too comfortable. Now he realises you can never be that.
“There’s never an opportunity for a player to be comfortable, because they’ve got to keep growing. This little period has been so beneficial for his development as a player.”
With Sinckler unavailable, not to mention the other Lions plus players from the four Premiership semi-finalists, Jones is short on experience.
Yet he has still chosen to rest the Leicester trio of Ben Youngs, Jonny May and George Ford, who has a slight calf issue.
In the wake of England’s worst ever Six Nations campaign Jones said that he anticipated overhauling 30 per cent of his squad before the 2023 World Cup.
He has begun that process by naming 21 uncapped players in a squad of 34.
There are recalls for Ben Spencer, last capped off the bench in the 2019 World Cup final and Bath team mate Joe Cokanasiga, who has also not featured since that tournament.
And there are summons for uncapped Premiership starlets Freddie Steward, Jacob Umaga, Tom Parton and former England forward Steve Ojomoh’s son Max.
“There was a conversation [with the rested senior players] but it was pretty one-way,” Jones revealed. “Sometimes you just need to tell the players what they need.”
England squad – Backs: Bassett, Cokanasiga, De Glanville, Dingwall, Hassell-Collins, Kelly, Lawrence, Mitchell, Ojomoh, Parton, Radwan, Robson, Spencer, Steward, Umaga.
Forwards: Blamire, Chick, Davison, Ewels, Genge, Heyes, P Hill, T Hill, Ludlam, Ludlow, Martin, Munga, Obano, Reid, Robinson, Singleton, Underhill, Wells, T Willis.
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