Warren Gatland tells Kyle Sinckler to put ‘two fingers up’ at him as England prop gets shock Lions call up after surprise omission last month
- The British and Irish Lions need a replacement for Andrew Porter
- Kyle Sinckler has now received a shock call-up for the tour of South Africa
- Sinckler received an invitation from coach Warren Gatland on Sunday morning
- Gatland told Sinckler to ‘raise two fingers at him’ for his shock omission
- After his omission, Sinckler opened up in a raw and emotional interview
Warren Gatland has told Kyle Sinckler to put “two fingers up” at him after the England gag received a shocking call from Lions.
Sinckler received an invitation for the upcoming tour through South Africa on Sunday morning, after an injury to Irishman Andrew Porter. The Bristol attacker was a surprising omission in the initial 37-man roster, but responded with a string of fine club performances.
“I’m very happy with the way Kyle has responded to the initial lockout,” Lions coach Gatland said after MailOnline told the story. “He has shown excellent form. I hope he keeps raising my fingers for letting him out in the first place.”
Warren Gatland (right) told Kyle Sinckler (left) to ‘raise two fingers’ at him for omission of Lions
After last month’s rejection, Sinckler gave a man-of-the-match display for Bristol, and was tipped to take over the England captaincy this summer.
In an emotional interview, he said, “What I wanted to do was lead by example. How easy would it have been for me to play the victim? I’m emotional, I wanted to use that anger. I’ve never had so much anger in me. I have used it in a positive way for the team.”
Sinckler, 28, was ruled out of Bristol’s win over Leicester on Saturday, but Lions medical staff are confident he will be back in action soon.
Bristol’s qualification to the Premiership play-offs means he will miss the start of a Lions training camp in Jersey – and will be absent for the game against Japan if his club makes the final. That didn’t affect Gatland’s thinking, however, after Porter injured a toe in Leinster’s defeat to Glasgow on Friday.
“It’s really bad luck for Andrew and we send him our very best wishes for a speedy and successful rehabilitation,” said Gatland. “He’s a young man with a great future ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll be back in the race in four years.”
Sinckler is in dominant form for the Bristol Bears after his initial setback at Lions
South Africa are facing their own injury concerns, with talisman No. 8 Duane Vermeulen doubtful for the three-Test series. He stumbled out of the Bulls’ victory over domestic rivals the Stormers on Friday with an ankle injury.
Rugby spring boxing director Rassie Erasmus said: ‘Duane is a major concern for us. He goes for the ultrasound on Monday. We’ll keep the squad as it is until we get everyone’s full medical report. A lot can happen.’
Leicester No. 8 Jasper Wiese was able to come in after his debut selection in the 46-man selection.
Meanwhile, the RFU will investigate the controversial end to Bristol’s win over Leicester.
Sinckler played in all three games of the British & Irish Lions’ series against New Zealand
Tiger boss Steve Borthwick had labeled his counterpart Pat Lam a “liar” about gag replacements. After the Bears threw Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro late into the foul, John Afoa finally returned – he was sacked at half time – after a lengthy debate over whether he had left as a ‘tactical’ or ‘injury’ replacement.
The New Zealand tighthead won the ensuing scrum that took Leicester’s last breath.
The RFU will be looking full time at the behavior of both teams after a massive brawl.