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Don't respond: Lions prop tells team-mates

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/06/2017 By Nick Purewal
Kyle Sinckler in training with the Lions at their Vale of Glamorgan base. ‘If I am called on, I will be ready,’ he says. © Sheridan/INPHO/Rex/Shutterstock Kyle Sinckler in training with the Lions at their Vale of Glamorgan base. ‘If I am called on, I will be ready,’ he says.

Prop Kyle Sinckler has told the British and Irish Lions exactly how to respond to the growing campaign in New Zealand to undermine their scrum - "say nothing".

Head coach Warren Gatland admitted the Lions were bested at the set piece when conceding a late scrum penalty that gifted the Highlanders a 23-22 victory in Dunedin on Tuesday.

Sinckler accepted that the Highlanders - just like the Crusaders on Saturday - were trying to influence the officials to rule against the Lions' scrum.

He has vowed the tourists will keep their counsel on the field.

Asked how the Lions should respond to Kiwi players' bid to influence referees, Sinckler said: "Not talk; say nothing.

"When your backs are against the wall, I've been lucky enough to be around guys like Dan Cole, Graham Rowntree and Neal Hatley, and they will tell you, 'Just crack on, let your actions do the talking'."

The Highlanders players were telling referee Angus Gardner right from the outset that they were dominating the scrum.

Harlequins and England prop Sinckler reacted in disbelief to that, insisting the scrum was a strong contest for the majority of the contest.

"How can they have dominance? They didn't get a penalty the whole game there until the last few minutes," Sinckler said.

"It's just at the end of the day a perception thing.

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"We know we're going to have our backs against the wall every single game when we're here, and we've got to stick together as a 41-man squad, the staff and everyone.

"It just doesn't make any sense to me, some of the calls."

The Lions wrestled the upper hand in the scrum in the 12-3 win over the Crusaders, earning a number of penalties, but the Christchurch hosts maintained throughout they had claimed the edge.

The theme of scrummaging and refereeing interpretations will run throughout the entire Lions tour, with the visitors well aware they must tighten up for the All Blacks Tests.

Replacement tighthead prop Dan Cole was squeezed into turning in for the crucial penalty that allowed Marty Banks to slot the winning penalty on Tuesday.

Owen Farrell of the Lions charges forward during the first test. In pics: Lions tour of New Zealand
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