Kyle Sinckler admitted “sport is cruel” after he was knocked out in the opening moments of England’s 32-12 World Cup final defeat by South Africa.
Sinckler, the Lions tighthead prop, departed the pitch after 173 seconds following an accidental collision with Maro Itoje and Makazole Mapimpi as he attempted to tackle the Springboks wing.
What followed was a harrowing experience for the scrum as six penalties were conceded at the disintegrating set-piece in his absence, Dan Cole repeatedly falling prey to Tendai Mtawarira.
“Words can’t do justice to how I’m feeling right now. Biggest moment in my life and not even being able to get a chance to shoot my shot,” Sinckler said on Twitter.
“Sport is cruel but we can never let adversity get the better of us. Want to thank everyone for their support especially back home…”
England prop Joe Marler offered some solidity to the scrum when he replaced Mako Vunipola in the second half, but the Springboks had already taken full control of the game.
“It was a tough ask and (referee) Jerome Garces decided he was going to referee a scrum this week, which is good to know, bless his heart,” Marler said.
“It’s very hard to change that perception. South Africa fully deserved to win. I hope they have a great night.
“As soon as you paint a picture early doors then that is in the back of the referee’s mind. The South African pack did a good job.”
“I was really gutted for Kyle. He has had an unbelievable tournament and he has really come of age here.
“What he can do in the scrum as well as the X factor stuff he does around the park – I put him up there as one of the top tightheads in the world and it is disappointing for it to end like that for him.
“It was a bit of blow to lose him early on because he has been in such good form. I’m gutted for Kyle but he can be proud of what he has done in the tournament. He will be unbelievable.
“This team, if they keep developing as they have, they will dominate for a long period and that is a joy to see.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time over the last 10 weeks and seeing the growth of the youngsters. They have got a bright future.”
A devastating loss but the team have done us proud 🌹 pic.twitter.com/DLTGAkdco9— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 2, 2019
Along with his brother Billy, Mako Vunipola carried the fight to South Africa as England sought to hit back but even he endured a torrid time at the scrum.
“It was disappointing for Kyle to be out that quick but we had all the belief in Dan. The experience he has is second to none,” Vunipola said.
“That’s just one of those things that happens quickly in rugby. You’ve got to move on quickly and I thought we did. We didn’t adjust to what they were doing quickly enough.
“At half-time time we spoke about not waiting for them to put the ball in, maybe working a bit earlier. In that first scrum we didn’t do that.
“We wanted to be the number one team in the world and we fell short, but it was still an achievement to be in the final and have the opportunity to play for the championship.
“We’re still massively proud of what we achieved, even though it’s not what we wanted.”