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Kyle Sinckler Believes Mental Health Breaks Will Become Increasingly Common in Elite Rugby

Lettermark


England rugby prop Kyle Sinckler has said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if more rugby players are tempted to step away from the international game unless better mental health support is put in place.

The 30-year-old cited international players packed schedules and the pressure to perform at the highest level as reasons why players may look to step away.

Sinckler’s words come after England rugby union captain Owen Farrell announced last week that he will miss the 2024 Six Nations Championship in order to ‘prioritise his and his family’s mental wellbeing’.

‘If I’m being honest [Farrell’s decision to step away} it’s only the beginning,’ Sinckler told BBC Radio 5 Live. ‘If you look at the workload the players go through, especially the international players, guys have been in [World Cup] camp for five months, get a week’s rest, and then come back in and playing week-in and week-out.

‘It is a privilege to play for your country and it comes with a lot of responsibility, but I think the support system around that could be a lot better.

‘The main thing is having the support system in place because only the players who have been through it, and who are in it, actually understand the pressure that goes with performing week-in, week-out.

‘Not just in the games, but in training, and the pressure to get your body right and to get your mind right.’

Sinckler’s words come at the same time as it’s being reported that England rugby stars want ‘Test sabbatical’ clauses put into the RFU’s (Rugby Football Union) new hybrid contracts.

The hybrid contacts would see the RFU pay a larger amount to players’ clubs in return for greater say on how they are used. But players also want the option of taking formalised rests from international rugby matches included in any agreement, The Evening Standard reports.

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