Kyle Sinckler has been called into the British & Irish Lions squad as a replacement for the injured prop Andrew Porter. Sinckler was the shock omission when Warren Gatland named his original 37-man squad last month but, after Porter sustained a toe injury on Friday, the Bristol and England prop has been handed a reprieve.
Sinckler missed Bristol’s win against Leicester on Saturday with a hamstring injury but he has been in excellent form since his initial omission and is expected back before the end of the campaign. He will join the Lions once Bristol’s season has finished, with Gatland urging Sinckler to “continue to stick two fingers up to me”.
The Lions head coach said: “It’s really bad luck for Andrew and we send him our very best wishes for a quick and successful rehab. Andrew is a young man with a big future ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll be in contention again in four years’ time.
“As always in rugby, when there’s an injury there’s an opportunity for someone else. I have been very pleased to see the way Kyle has responded to initially being left out of the touring party. He has showed some excellent form of late and I hope he continues to stick two fingers up to me about leaving him out in the first place.”
It is miserable luck for Porter, who sustained the injury in Leinster’s defeat by Glasgow on Friday. The 25-year-old Irishman can play on both sides of the scrum and his set-piece prowess was a key part of the reason Gatland included him.
His misfortune is to Sinckler’s benefit, however. The 28-year-old appeared in all three Tests in the drawn series against New Zealand in 2017 but was overlooked for this tour, with Gatland preferring Porter, Tadhg Furlong and Zander Fagerson.
Days after he was left out, Sinckler produced a man-of-the-match display against Bath and gave an emotional interview, in which he said: “Right now it doesn’t make sense but what I wanted to do was to 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 inside me and I used it in a positive way for the team. I kind of understand the reasons why, but in a year or two’s time I will be back on it and it will all make sense. Right now, it doesn’t make sense, but what I wanted to do was to lead by example and show the kids.”