Kyle Sinckler saw his ‘career flash in front of him’ when he was tackled by Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie, which led to his outburst at referee Karl Dickson.
The England international will miss his country’s opening Six Nations fixture against Scotland next month, after receiving a ban for shouting “Are you f**king serious?” at the referee during Bristol’s game against Exeter.
The 10-page document of Sinckler’s disciplinary hearing has been published on the RFU‘s website and goes a long way in explaining why the prop was so incensed by the referee’s dismissal of the tackle.
Want to apologise for my reaction today. Not the example I want to be setting. Heat of the moment stuff. Will make a conscious effort to improve. My bad 👊
— Kyle Sinckler (@KyleSinckler) January 9, 2021
“He thought the tackle potentially could have broken his leg. It was an illegal tackle [no arms] and was found to be so by the referee on review.
“In a previous season, he had been tackled in a similar way and suffered an injury that ended his season. The player still has to deal with that injury today.
“In this instance, he could not brace for impact. That previous injury contributed to his reaction. His whole career flashed in front of him.
“He spoke of his pride in his England and British and Irish Lions caps. As soon as he hit the floor his concern was for his left leg and was scared for his safety,” Sinckler’s legal council Sam Jones said.
‘The Exeter players were laughing at him’
While the tackle alone infuriated the Bristol prop, Sinckler frustrations were made even worse by a number of Exeter Chiefs players insulting him over his annoyance with the incident.
“He was in shock after a tackle of that nature by someone he considered to be a good friend of his. The Exeter players were laughing at him, saying things to the effect of ‘stop being a pussy’.
“The pressure he was under amalgamated into one. He accepted that he was looking at the referee when he shouted.
“He was then summoned over by the referee. He said that he said to the referee that the Exeter No2 could have broken his leg.
“When shown that part of the video he explained that he had said that after he had turned and moved away from the referee, been guided back, and turned to leave.
“He had been angry. He was shaking his head because he disagreed with the whole incident. He thought the foul play by the Exeter No. 2 was plain to see.
“It was a combination of features. The tackle was penalised on review with the TMO. On reflection, he is not proud of his reaction,” Jones explained.
While Sinckler has been rightfully punished for his foul-mouthed comment directed at the referee, his explanation of events does raise the question whether Exeter’s Cowan-Dickie got off too lightly.