6N: O'Shea backs England's Sinckler to become rugby great

England's Kyle Sinckler, right, and Wales Alun Wyn Jones react during the Six Nations rugby union international between Wales and England at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

LONDON — Italy coach Conor O'Shea believes temperamental England prop Kyle Sinckler will become a rugby great.

Sinckler goes up against O'Shea's Italians in the Six Nations on Saturday at Twickenham, and the coach revealed on Friday he's a fan of the tighthead.

Sinckler was described as an "emotional time bomb" by Wales coach Warren Gatland before their match two weeks ago in Cardiff, and it played out that way. Sinckler made 22 tackles and earned a scrum penalty, but he was substituted in the third quarter after conceding his second and third penalties in minutes. England lost not only its composure and the match, but also control of the championship.

O'Shea oversaw 25-year-old Sinckler's early development at Harlequins club as director of rugby, and urged England coach Eddie Jones at the start of his reign to consider the prop.

"Eddie came to Quins in the first week he was in the job and asked, 'Is there anyone we are missing?' I said, 'Sink,'" O'Shea said on Friday.

"He is explosive, he has got the lot. For all the players we had at Quins — Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown, etc — I said, 'Eddie, the man is Sink.'

"Sink wasn't starting every week and he was frustrated with me. He was someone I shared a lot of one-on-ones with at Quins. The kid is special. At the age of 16 we put him on the bench to go to Toulouse in the Champions Cup.

"England are lucky to have him, and he's going to become a pretty big legend in this game."

Gatland's comment was rebuffed by Jones, and O'Shea also believed the comment was inaccurate.

"Has he got an edge? Yes. But he's more under control than people think," O'Shea said. "When you are as explosive as he is, he won't take a backward step, we know that.

"He has a swagger but he backs it up with the way he plays. I have gone through a lot of his formative years and he's still a young player. He is good to be around."

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