Prop Kyle Sinckler says the England squad are in a great space ahead of the start of the Six Nations, despite the absence of several key players due to injury.
After a fifth-placed finish in last year’s tournament, England went unbeaten in the end-of-year Tests in 2021.
But their preparations for the 2022 Six Nations were dealt a blow when captain Owen Farrell was ruled out and a number of other players are out of contention for selection due to injuries and illness.
Sinckler, though, insists it will be “business as usual” for Eddie Jones’ men when they take on Scotland in the Six Nations clash that doubles up as a Calcutta Cup showdown.
“We play an attritional sport and I can’t remember the last time everyone was fit,” he told the Rugby Union Daily podcast.
“Obviously, those guys will be sorely missed but it gives an opportunity for other guys to come in.
“I personally feel we are in a great space as a squad, but the real acid test is the first game and you see really where you are at.
“All we can do is what we are doing at the moment, connecting as a squad off the field, building those relationships and those bonds, and then getting out on the field and working tremendously hard.
“I feel like we are in a very, very good space in terms of the experience we have in the group and the young guys coming through – I think we have a very good mix of the two, and it’s going to be exciting.”
The highly rated but often controversial prop is set to reach 50 caps for England over the course of the upcoming Six Nations and says the looming milestone has him “buzzing”.
“For me, to potentially be getting 50 caps would be an unbelievable experience, but it means more when you are part of a successful team,” he said.
“I want the team to be winning games week in and week out as opposed to what we experienced last year, because that wasn’t nice for anyone.
“I’m buzzing to hopefully be selected and to go out there and do my thing.”
Sinckler also explained that his newfound enjoyment of the game is because he rid himself of a “victim’s mindset” and that was instrumental in his personal growth and development as a player.
“I thought I was a lot better than I was and my eyes were opened massively,” he said.
“I saw how far I was off the boil, not just in terms of my rugby ability –which I thought at the time was unbelievable.
“But I had a big victim’s mindset … ‘The coach doesn’t like me, [former Harlequins coach] Conor O’Shea is never picking me’ … but in actual fact I was talented but I was lazy.
“I would just punch in at training at 9am, and as soon as training was done I was at home on the sofa watching Sky Sports News.”
© Agence France-Presse