Sinckler and Cowan-Dickie bury hatchet for good of shellshocked England
Kyle Sinckler and Luke Cowan-Dickie have buried the hatchet and vowed to work together to dig England out of a Six Nations hole.
Sinckler missed the Scotland game after being suspended for swearing at a referee who allowed a no-arms tackle on him by Cowan-Dickie to go unpunished.
The Bristol prop told his disciplinary hearing that the tackle, in a club game at champions Exeter, could potentially have broken his leg.
He added that he was shocked that someone he considered a good friend could have done it to him and claimed to have been further angered by Exeter players laughing at him.
Sinckler later apologised, both to the ref and publicly on social media. After being banned for two matches he took responsibility for his actions.
“I now realise that the only person to blame for any effect is me as the cause,” he said.
As it turned out it was not only Sinckler who paid a high price for his outburst, as without him England flopped and Cowan-Dickie was one of those to feel the pain.
But this week the front row duo have put the past behind them as England prepare to return to the scene of their Calcutta Cup horror show to face Italy.
“All is good,” claimed Cowan-Dickie, “It’s all fun and jokes. Kyle is a good mate of mine. I have played with him since I was about 15.
“When you are in a game, it is competitive and you always go out to win. But it is all sweet. We had a bit of a chuckle when we got in to camp.”
It will be no laughing matter if England produce another performance as lame as the one against Scotland.
The Scots had not beaten the auld enemy at Twickenham since 1983 but Italy have never got the better of England anywhere.
Publicly at least, Jones has been vague on where England messed up, other than to blame himself for the way he prepared the players.
Only when he names his team for Italy tomorrow will it become clear whom he reckons is also culpable.
“Eddie is not shy of chopping and changing,” said Mako Vunipola, who is fit again and available for selection.
“Whoever the best player is, he will put them in. You have got to keep up with the rest of the squad. The second you fall behind, Eddie is ready to get the players who are better.”
Sinckler, 27, could well come straight back into the side for his 41st cap – and would do so with Cowan-Dickie’s full backing.
“Kyle is an interesting character, he makes the group laugh and is a good personality in the team,” said the Chiefs hooker.
“He drives himself to win, he wants to win all the time. It definitely helps the squad when you have players like that around.”
Johnny Sexton has hit back at comments from a French doctor about his concussion record.
The Ireland captain is going through return-to-play protocols ahead of Sunday’s Six Nations clash with France after suffering a head knock in the defeat to Wales.
Sexton blasted Dr Jean-Francois Chermann, who revealed he’d ordered the veteran fly-half be stood down for 12 weeks when he was a Racing 92 player in 2014 due to repeated brain injuries.
The neurologist claims Sexton has sustained around 30 concussions during his career and expressed concern about him rushing back into action.
Sexton, 35, said: “I’m pretty saddened and shocked by the inaccurate reports that were thrown out.
“For me, I just think it’s totally inappropriate that a doctor that I have seen – many years ago now – felt it was appropriate to come out and talk to whoever it was and say those things.
“It’s inaccurate and highly inappropriate and I’m pretty disappointed. For me, it’s almost like water off a duck’s back, but for my wife and mum it’s very upsetting.
“I thought there was patient and doctor confidentiality. I’m pretty sure that exists in the world and I just can’t get over the fact that someone thought it was appropriate to just come out of nowhere and just start saying things that weren’t even accurate. That’s the most hurtful thing.”
Sexton was forced off late on during last weekend’s 21-16 loss in Cardiff after hitting his head on the knee of Wales flanker Justin Tipuric.
Along with James Ryan, who was also replaced in the Principality Stadium opener, the pair are going through phased protocols in order to be available for Sunday’s clash in Dublin.
Sexton is on course to play against Les Bleus and expressed total faith in his country’s medical staff.
Should he be ruled out, Leinster team-mate Ross Byrne or Ulster’s Billy Burns would deputise in the number 10 jersey.
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