Sinckler a stand-out, but more consistency needed - Flannery
He was a big loss for England.
Kyle Sinckler was one of the stand-out players in Japan, not just for England, but in the tournament as a whole. His early collision with teammate Maro Itoje that saw him knocked out and removed from the field of play was a cruel blow that England never fully recovered from.
It wasn't just in the pack that they missed him, although you could probably have added a grumpy Bruce Banner to the English tight five and it wouldn't have made a difference against the Boks' scrum. It was in the loose, with everything he offers going forward, that England really missed the Harlequins tighthead.
Speaking on The JOEpan Rugby Show this week, former Munster forwards coach Jerry Flannery emphasised the importance of Sinckler to England's game plan;
"I thought Sinckler was phenomenal for England all the way through the tournament. And I think him going off so early in the final was actually a big, it was a huge blow, a huge blow. At the time I didn't realise how big it was, I thought they'd lose a little bit of his football around the field but, obviously they conceded an awful lot of scrum penalties when he went off. Now it's not just purely down to Dan Cole coming in, but I think Sinckler had a fantastic tournament."
There were calls from some quarters, particularly after his performance against New Zealand in the semi final, for Sinckler to make the cut for World Player of the Year, but Flannery says there's still a little bit more to come from the 26 year-old;
"Possibly, I think there needs to be a little bit more consistency to his game, which I think he's been bringing. But like he's so powerful, and again, we've spoken in the past about players rounding their skillset, as far as I know Sinckler played 10, he was initially an outhalf when he played as a kid. He loved playing football, then he went in playing rugby and played 10. So you can see how comfortable he is stepping up, taking the ball, playing those little tip-on passes, playing sweep passes, offloading and he's really, really dynamic then when he goes to carry. When he's adding that in and you see how the English set piece functioned with him in there, and how strong it was."
On Episode 14 of The JOEpan Rugby Show, Jerry Flannery picks his Team of the Tournament. 2 Welsh, 3 New Zealanders, 4 English, 4 South Africans and 2 Japanese players... WATCH below: