Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond believes England recognition is only a matter of time for Ben Curry after watching the Sharks skipper inspire a 20-11 Gallagher Premiership victory over Wasps. Curry was named man of the match in front of Eddie Jones as a reward for an all-action display at the Ricoh Arena as Sale clinched a first win in three attempts since lockdown.

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His twin brother Tom has emerged as a star for England since making his debut in 2017 and last autumn was shortlisted for world player of the year, while Ben has been consistently overlooked by Jones. “Ben is a good leader, a leader of men. He’s a quiet man, but anyone who has watched him over the last three years knows he’s one of the best back row forwards in the country,” Diamond said.

“He has not had the recognition with England but we are pretty sure that will come. A lot of people are talking about how many good back rows there are – and there are lots – but it’s not just about being able to win the ball as a jackal.

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England forward Courtney Lawes guests on All Access, the RugbyPass interview series hosted by Jim Hamilton

“You have got to have a lineout presence, a link presence, that ability to manage yourself and manage your forwards, which is something Ben Curry does really well. He was outstanding.”

Sale reinforced their title push with a convincing victory in Coventry that sees them leapfrog Wasps into third place after Luke James ran in a decisive try in the 61st minute. “Exeter and Bristol have shown they’re the top two sides and it’s any two of four below them to get in there,” Diamond said.

“Exeter showed what they can do last week by giving us a good hiding and Bristol are knocking everyone around. We’ve got them next up and that will be a massive game. We can kick on from this if we get a similar performance to this discipline-wise.

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“Getting into the top four is a big challenge but if you get in there then home and away isn’t as important as previous years as there are no crowds.”

Wasps exited lockdown as the Premiership’s form team alongside Exeter after positing wins against Northampton and Worcester, but they were well beaten by Sale. “Discipline was the biggest thing. When you’re playing in these conditions, discipline is the biggest thing,” head coach Lee Blackett said.

“You just can’t away penalties so easily. Overall we defended as a whole pretty positively, we always gave away too many penalties. Sale were good and they managed the referee better.”

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