Belfast Telegraph

Sinckler's fitness provides real boost for England

 

Kyle Sinckler
Kyle Sinckler

By Duncan Bech

Kyle Sinckler has given England a pre-Six Nations lift by proving his fitness in time for Harlequins' Champions Cup clash with Bath.

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Sinckler was replaced in the final quarter of the 30-30 draw with Leicester at Twickenham 12 days ago and was forced to withdraw from the line-up for last weekend's drubbing at Sale because of an injury Quins are declining to specify.

But he starts the European dead-rubber at the Recreation Ground at tighthead prop tonight and is joined in the front-row by Joe Marler, who will be making his 200th appearance.

England prospect Alex Dombrandt is restored at No.8 but fly-half Marcus Smith misses out due to illness.

Harlequins' chief concern against a Bath side captained by Anthony Watson for the first time is making amends for the 48-10 rout at AJ Bell Stadium.

Head of rugby Paul Gustard said: "Bath represents a good opportunity for the squad to move forward and put together a complete performance based on a strong set-piece, resilient defence and attacking threat. It's important we regain our momentum, looking forward and not back. We are excited about the opportunity to play against Bath."

Sale, meanwhile, are also involved in a match with little at stake when they travel to La Rochelle, who are rooted to the foot of a pool led by Exeter.

The Sharks retain six starters from the side that thumped Quins and have made 15 changes to the 23, while fielding an all-English front five and naming six senior academy players on the bench.

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