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Sunday Jun 4, 2017

LIONS WATCH: Kyle Sinckler impresses despite disappointing tour opener

The Lions made a stuttering start to their tour of New Zealand with a 13-7 victory against a Provincial Barbarians side largely made up from players competing for Super Rugby contracts.

Bryn Gatland, son of Lions head coach Warren Gatland, impressed at fly half for the home side while Taulupe Faletau was voted man of the match for the Lions on broadcasting channels and social media. But one player who deserves more praise for his performance is tight head prop Kyle Sinckler.

The Harlequins and England front row forward was substituted after 49 minutes, and unfortunately viewers will remember his performance based on a tap penalty in the Barbarians’ half which lead to a turnover.

However, the 24-year-old made more metres than any other forward in the home team, made more metres than Lions captain Sam Warburton, and more metres than Rory Best, Joe Marler and Alun Wyn Jones combined.

Sinckler did not miss a single tackle in Whangarei and was the only tight five player representing the Lions who made a clean break. The touring side won all 11 scrums during the 80 minutes which adds credit to Sinckler’s solid performance and builds hopes of a strong set piece going forward.

Warren Gatland has rotated the squad for the next match against the Blues on Wednesday morning with England’s Dan Cole set to start.

Sinkler has done enough to earn a spot on the bench. So far, so good for the young prop.

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