England 41 Italy 18 - Kyle Sinckler has the eye of a caged tiger

TALKING about Kyle Sinckler, who he feels could become the best tight-head prop in the world, England head coach Eddie Jones segwayed on to the subject of tigers, both the jungle and zoo variety.

On the charge: England's Kyle Sinckler is tackled by Italy's Luca Bigi and Michele Lamaro. Pictures: David Davies/PA

The Australian certainly loves a metaphor and, in this instance, it worked perfectly.

Sinckler was back in the England side for the six-try win over Italy, having missed the dismal Six Nations opening defeat against Scotland due to suspension.

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The British Lions prop had been banned for two weeks after being sent off for swearing at the referee in Bristol Bears’ game against Exeter Chiefs last month.

As talented as he is, Sinckler is renowned for having that combustible edge, something he continues to work on improving.

However, there was no lack of discipline on show on Saturday; the 27-year-old earned man-of-the-match honours, solidifying England’s scrum and bringing some much-needed power up front. Predictably, there were times when things boiled over at scrums. Pushing and shoving ensued – no-one can do much more nowadays – but Sinckler did not bite.

There was a time when Jones would have been concerned about his player’s reaction. Does he no longer worry?

The coach, whose side now have a fallow weekend before the trip to Cardiff on February 27, said: “There always is a worry.

England's Jack Willis: Scoring their fourth try.

“He’s still a jungle tiger and jungle tigers can always go. But in the most he behaves like a zoo tiger with still the fight of a jungle tiger. So we’ve just got to keep managing that.”

Overall, Jones is impressed and it is understandable why Sinckler is becoming increasingly integral. Jones continued: “I just see him maturing massively as a rugby player. He was a hot-headed, individual tight-head prop with a lot of potential. And now what we’re seeing is a maturing, professional, committed player who is producing talented performances consistently.

“If you look at the way he played for us in the autumn and now his first game back in the Six Nations, he’s going to get close at being the best tight-head prop in the world and that’s his target. That’s what we want him to get.

“I’m really pleased with his progress.”

There is no doubting Sinckler has progressed; two years ago he had to be replaced in Cardiff after being wound-up by Wales, conceding two costly penalties in quick succession as England fell.

You cannot imagine the former Harlequins front-row reacting in the same way when he returns there for the first time since as the Red Rose bid to end Wales’ 100 per cent winning start.

That said, the player knew he had to atone against Italy after lapsing by speaking out of turn to the official last month.

“Obviously, there was massive frustration at the time but once I broke it down and speaking to my mentor – my weekly work with him helps me get clarity – I had to take full responsibilities for my actions,” explained Sinckler.

“The easiest thing I could have done was really blame externally and look for excuses but I hold my hands up and know where I went wrong. The relevance for me was understanding how much of an inspiration you are to the younger generation and how much they do look up to you.

“So you just have to be very, very careful. The easiest thing to say was heat of the moment as it was a dangerous tackle (he reacted to) but I have to be accountable for my actions. But I got my head down and grafted, got a plan in place with my own personal team and Bristol were amazing as well as England. If I’m honest, I just loved being out there today. I just truly love the game. I really missed just playing.”

With the community game on hold for almost a year, he added: “Eddie made the point in our team talk that 8.7m people watched our game last weekend and you can only imagine how many of those are kids who look up to us as players. We just wanted to put smiles on faces. It wasn’t perfect but our intent and energy was a lot better.”

Still, Monty Ioane gave Italy a dream start with a try after just 144 seconds but England soon hit back via tries from Jonny Hill, Anthony Watson and a stunning finish from Jonny May.

After the break, Paolo Garbisi’s second penalty saw Italy trail just 20-11 but Watson’s intercept try sealed a bonus point for the defending champions.

Replacement forward Jack Willis scored almost as soon as he came on but was soon carried off after sustaining a horrific knee injury. Tommaso Allan added a second try for Italy before Elliot Daly sealed England’s win.

England: Daly; Watson, Farrell, Slade, May; Ford, Youngs (Robson 51); M Vunipola (Genge 52), Cowan-Dickie (George 52), Sinckler (Stuart 74), Itoje, Hill (Ewels 51), Lawes (Willis 58 Malins 65), Curry, B Vunipola (Earls 59).

Italy: Trulla; Sperandio, Ignacio (Canna 59), Canna (Mori 51), Ioane; Garbisi (Allan 65), Varney (Palazzani 69); Lovotti (Fishetti 30), Bigi (Lucchesi 69), Riccioni (Zilocchi 16), Lazzaroni, Sisi (Ruzza 79), Negri (Ruzza 25), Meyer, Lamaro (Cannone 45).

Referee: M Adamson (SRU).