Kyle Sinckler has lifted the cover on the “surreal” team meeting that left him certain England would beat the All Blacks and reach the World Cup final in 2019, calling the two teams’ first meeting since as “big boys rugby”.
Eddie Jones brought a samurai sword to the meeting and sliced the Kiwi in two in an effort to convince his squad how New Zealand could be beaten. Fresh off scoring a try in the quarter-final win over Australia, Sinckler recalls how the entire team was paralyzed by Jones’ left-field move and England was left in no doubt they would beat the All Blacks six days after.
England lined up in a V in response to the haka before kick-off and then proceeded to put on arguably their best performance under Jones, with Manu Tuilagi scoring an early try in a 19-7 win at Yokohama, the first time they had beaten the All Blacks since 2012.
Sinckler said: “We had a team meeting on Sunday, which is very strange. Normally Sunday is a day off, you never really see Eddie, but he called a player meeting at 9 am I will never forget that meeting, in terms of how we organize the week with our game plan: push them, go to them, walk towards danger. It was a surreal experience because after that match we had no doubt that we were going to win.
“How many times have we seen [teams] walk into the haka and New Zealand put 50 points on them? We felt that if we were going to do that, we needed to back it up. It was one of those rare moments in your career where everything went according to plan.”
Saturday’s game will be the All Blacks’ first trip to Twickenham since 2018 and England have not beaten them at home since Tuilagi went berserk 10 years ago. New Zealand are on a six-match winning streak and although Scotland gave them quite a scare on Sunday, Sinckler, who first faced the All Blacks when representing the British & Irish Lions in 2017, believes his physique will let them down. distinguish.
He added: “They can do flashy things, but the practical aspects of their game are very impressive. That was one of the biggest revelations for me when I first played in New Zealand. Jesus, these guys are really physical. We have to make sure we bring our ‘A’ game because if we don’t, they are a world class team. And for me personally, it’s just the utmost gratitude for being able to do what I love. Big Boy Rugby Now!
Sinckler has started both of England’s autumn games to date and has missed the final leg of the Six Nations and the summer tour of Australia with a back injury. Jones recently said that, in his prime, Sinckler is the best right prop in the world, but the 29-year-old revealed just how debilitating his back injury had been as he returned to his best form.
“For me to be out there, pain free, playing again and getting back to where I know I can get to, I have the utmost gratitude for that,” he said. “I had chronic, chronic pain. I am very lucky because I am a professional athlete and we have good physios at the club, and I have my own team abroad. Every minute of the day I was revolving around my rehab and I was just thinking, ‘Imagine if you were a normal person who had a family and you were doing a nine to five shift and you were experiencing this. I don’t know how they would top that.
“My heart goes out to people dealing with chronic pain because there are really dark times. She was thinking, ‘Am I ever going to play again?’ I had a lot of pain. I couldn’t sit down. I couldn’t put on my shoes and socks. I was literally in bed for three or four months.”