Kyle Sinckler was inspired to play for England by the 2003 World Cup final – despite being forced to miss Jonny Wilkinson’s drop-goal in order to study maths.
Sinckler was 10 years old when he watched on television as Martin Johnson’s side were held 14-14 by Australia at the end of 80 minutes, ushering in a period of extra time that was ultimately settled by Wilkinson’s boot.
But the enthralled Sinckler never got to see the greatest moment in English rugby history as his mum Donna had ordered him to study.
“Watching 2003 was a massive motivator for me. I remember when the final was on, I had a maths tutor,” the Bristol prop said.
“Obviously it went to extra time and then my mum – honestly I don’t know, she’s so ruthless that woman sometimes – she literally turned the TV off and took me to my maths tutor.
“So I had to do my maths lesson and I found out afterwards that we’d won! Honestly, it was full-time and she said ‘you’re going to your maths tutor’. I said: ‘You’re joking!’
“But she was adamant: ‘Nope. I’m paying my money. I’m working hard to pay for your maths tutor so you’re going.’
“I was like: ‘You are so evil, ridiculous!’ Don’t even start with that woman! Nuts. Nuts!
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) August 28, 2023
“Before that I was literally glued to the TV, it was so inspiring for me watching that. It gave me, I guess, the hope that I wanted to emulate that one day.”
England are desperately short of form for their latest attempt to claim a second world title having lost five of their last six Tests.
They open France 2023 with a tricky clash against Argentina, who sit two places higher in the global rankings in sixth.
“It’s the real deal straight away. Every Test match you play it’s tough. I’ve never had an easy Test match in my life,” said Sinckler, who is expected to overcome a chest injury in time to face the Pumas.
“It pushes you to the limit and that’s why it’s called a Test – it does test you. But if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”