Sir Ian McGeechan has speculated that a messy night out during the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour cost Kyle Sinckler his place in this year’s squad.
“The coaches have to be able to trust every player they take implicitly. I wonder whether this was behind the omission of Kyle Sinckler, which was to my mind the most surprising of all,” McGeechan wrote in a column for The Telegraph.
“Sinckler has attributes that no other tighthead has. He has become a key asset for England in recent years. But maybe he lost an element of trust where Gatland is concerned four years ago.
“Sinckler’s final contribution on that tour was to be arrested following a night out after the third test. Although he was released without charge, the Lions tour manager John Spencer did have to publicly remind him of his ‘responsibilities as a Lion’.”
McGeechan added: ““Sinckler has grown as a player and a man in the past four years. It would be unfair to hold that against him indefinitely. But he still has a slightly short fuse,” McGeechan commented.
“With Tadhg Furlong back to his best, Zander Fagerson impressing in the Six Nations, Andrew Porter able to play both sides, and no English coaches to advocate for him, perhaps Sinckler just did not have the faith of the entire selection panel.”
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Alternative Lions squad: The 37 players who missed out
- Jonny May (England)
- Jack Nowell (England)
- Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)
- Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
- Darcy Graham (Scotland)
- Max Malins (England)
- Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
- Manu Tuilagi (England)
- Henry Slade (England)
- Cameron Redpath (Scotland)
- Garry Ringrose (Ireland