England have backed feisty prop Kyle Sinckler and told him to carry on snarling.
The young tighthead was branded an ‘emotional timebomb’ by Wales coach Warren Gatland before his men beat the visiting English in last weekend’s Six Nations showdown.
He was explosive alright — making 20 tackles and throwing his weight around to great effect for almost an hour in Cardiff, before losing his cool and being replaced.
Former player Andy Goode claimed Sinckler failed his temperament test and the two penalties he conceded in quick succession cost England their victory chance.
But Red Rose defence coach John Mitchell countered: “You want players to play on the edge, that is what the game is about. And in this generation of players, you don’t have a lot of players who do.
“Kyle is unique in the way that he does and the last thing we ever want to do is take that away from him because it is something that he can bring to us in a very positive way. All the game is doing now is asking him to contribute to the team, when it really matters, without losing his ability to play on the edge.
“This game is very much about how you serve something bigger than yourself.”
Time and place, in other words.
Which could be applied to the entire England pack after they brawled with opposition players in front of schoolchildren on Wednesday.
The Georgian national team have been invited over to Oxford by boss Eddie Jones to ask questions of England’s set-piece ahead of next weekend’s game with Italy at Twickenham.
Twice, the rival packs had to be dragged apart and England forwards coach Steve Borthwick admitted: “There was some pushing and shoving… that happens in rugby.”
Skipper Owen Farrell is involved in a different sort of barney in his role as England representative on the International Rugby Players’ council.
The group has voiced fierce opposition to proposals from global governing body World Rugby to revamp the game, labelling the ideas harmful to player welfare.
Reports from New Zealand say a 12-team World League is to be launched from 2020 featuring the home unions, plus France, Italy, the All Blacks, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, USA and Japan.
There would be no promotion or relegation, ending the hopes of sides such as Georgia, Fiji and Samoa getting more regular competition against the sport’s heavyweights.
Farrell said: “Players are definitely open to discussing a new global season but what we develop has to work with the club game in order to reduce conflict, deal with player release issues and make sure their welfare is looked after.
“This proposal shows no signs of improving an already difficult situation.”
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