LONDON – Wales coach Warren Gatland has suggested England prop Kyle Sinckler “emotionally, can be a bit of a time bomb” heading into this weekend's crunch Six Nations clash in Cardiff.
Sinckler was involved in an exchange of words with Ireland's Peter O'Mahony during England's opening win in Dublin and last time out received a ticking off from referee Nigel Owens for slapping France forward Arthur Iturria on the head.
England coach Eddie Jones has made it clear he wants his players to keep their cool at the Principality Stadium, where victory for either of the last two unbeaten sides in the Championship could go a long way to deciding the destiny of the title.
Gatland, who coached Harlequins front-row Sinckler on the British and Irish Lions' 2017 tour of New Zealand, said: “I think the thing with Kyle, there is no doubt he's a very good player in terms of his carrying, scrummaging and work-rate.
“There is a challenge sometimes with his temperament. He's aware of it. Other players are aware of it. We've already seen in the Six Nations that he has been involved in a couple of incidents.”
The New Zealander added: “Hopefully, we don't get dragged into that on Saturday. Emotionally, he can be a bit of a time-bomb. I am not saying anything that people aren't aware of.”
But Gatland insisted: “Look, we won't be going out there trying to antagonise him, because that's not in our make-up. We will just go out there and play.”
Meanwhile the experienced Gatland, who will stand down as Wales coach after this year's World Cup in Japan, was all smiles when asked about England counterpart Eddie Jones' comment that Saturday's match would be the biggest in the Wales' players’ lives.
“He's taking the mick. He's talking about us,” said Gatland. “It's a big game, but it's not the biggest game we've played in. It's only against England!”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)