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Video: Sinckler coming of age on 2017 Lions Tour

As the most inexperienced member of the Lions front row union, every day has been a school day for Kyle Sinckler on the 2017 Tour to New Zealand.

“You’ve got to remember that this jersey is so much bigger than Kyle Sinckler.”

The 24-year-old will make his third appearance – and second start – on Tour on Tuesday against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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After coming through the junior ranks as a centre at his local club Battersea Ironsides, it was only at 13 with Harlequins that Sinckler made the switch to the front row.

Read more about Kyle Sinckler’s journey to the Lions here

Last year he made his breakthrough on the international stage but scrummaging week in, week out against Super Rugby sides and alongside some of the best in the business has been eye opening for the youngster.

“I was just told I was a tighthead prop from when I was about 13 or 14 years old, and it’s been hard position to learn,” he said.

“As a tighthead prop set-piece is your number one job and everything else comes as a bonus.

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“I enjoy having the ball in my hands and running lines off nine and 10 and that’s something I can bring and obviously as we know, in my younger days I was a centre or even a fly-half if we were desperate.

“I like carrying the ball and it’s something that I’ve just found natural. So for me the scrum is about being a sponge, learning from guys like Rory Best, Alun Wyn (Jones), it’s a bit surreal.

“It’s a totally different interpretation over the laws down here, watching how Super Rugby teams operate because it’s different to the northern hemisphere.

“This week we’re again up against a quality scrum in the Highlanders and if you watch their game against the Crusaders they did really well, the Crusaders probably being one of the best scrums in the competition.

“It’s a test but one we’re probably all looking forward to and you know me, I’m always wanting to learn and test myself against the best and that’s why we’re all here.

“If you look at the best tightheads in the world you’re talking about Owen Franks, Dan Cole, those guys and they’ve got 70- or 80 caps under their belt. It takes a long time to perfect your craft and you’re always learning and that’s something I’ve always tried to do.”

Sinckler will line up in the front row on Tuesday alongside his England and Quins teammate Joe Marler and Ireland skipper Best.

Both have been invaluable in giving him advice on Tour and Sinckler admits the trade secrets in the front row have all been shared – and hopefully will be forgotten after the Tour ends!

But it was a after a sitdown talk with Lions legend Adam Jones and Wallabies and Quins second row James Horwill last year that youngster learned to channel his natural aggression.

And that added maturity will stand him good stead on Tour as the Lions approach the Test series against the All Blacks.

“I found that as I got more experienced and bit older, maybe when I was 20 or 21 I would always look too far ahead, I’d have a game for Harlequins on the Saturday and I’d be thinking about getting on the England tour that’s months away and I would lose my focus on the here and now,” he added,

“So for me my main job is to do my job for the team on Tuesday night.

“Obviously I’ll be disappointed if I’m not involved (in the Tests), but so will everyone. You’ve got to remember that this jersey is so much bigger than Kyle Sinckler.

“That’s what’s so special about playing for your country and playing for your childhood club like Harlequins and playing for the Lions, those jerseys mean so much more than just your ego.

It’s an ongoing process for me, I want to be physical, I want to play on the edge and in people’s faces but in the right way, and not to the detriment of the team. That conversation with James Horwill and Adam Jones put things in perspective for me.

“If it’s best for the team that I do play or don’t play then so be it, it’s all about the team and the team always comes first, especially with the Lions when we’ve been flung together for a few weeks and coming to New Zealand to try and win a Test series.”

The quick turnaround between games on Tour has also taken some getting used to – Sinckler will be making his third appearance on Tour in only ten days when he runs out on Tuesday.

“I was speaking to Maro (Itoje) about it and it’s a bit different because normally on a Saturday you’re feeling a bit sore, maybe a bit sorry for yourself especially if you’re coming off a loss, and you’ve got the whole week to recover whereas here you’ve just got to get on with it and sometimes the body reacts well to it,” he added.

“I was talking to Maro after the Auckland game, he started and he had to be on the bench for Saturday so I asked ‘how’s your body’ and he was like ‘mate I’m sweet’.

“It’s a bit weird because you’ve just got to get on with it and you don’t think about it and I think the boys have been top draw with that.”

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