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Curry tipped to eclipse McCaw

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'He can go on to become the best-ever seven to play the game'

Sale Sharks captain Jono Ross believes teammate and young England flanker Tom Curry has the potential to become the greatest openside flanker of all-time.

The 20-year-old has risen to the elite level of the game at a rapid pace, becoming an integral part of the England squad as they challenge for a Six Nations title.

He also looms as a key figure in Eddie Jones’ side at this year’s World Cup in Japan.

However, speaking to The Rugby Paper, Ross isn’t surprised at the youngster’s impressive showings in the test arena.

“Tom is 20-years-old and shining on the international stage. He can go on to become the best-ever seven to play the game, if he continues on the path that he is and stays injury free,” he said.

It’s a hefty accolade, especially when taking into consideration some of the other openside flankers who have dominated international rugby in years gone by.

Richie McCaw is widely regarded as one of the greatest sevens, if not one of the best players in the game’s history, while others to have starred in recent times include Sam Warburton, David Pocock, George Smith, Thierry Dusautoir, Schalk Burger, Neil Back and Michael Jones.

Nevertheless, Ross said that Curry has enough work ethic to complement his natural talent, which he believes should see him catapult to stardom.

“He is an extremely hard worker and gives absolutely 100 per cent in every training session,” Ross said.

“At the moment he is one of the best openside flankers in the world. He is a fighter who never goes away and he wants to learn and get better.”

Ross’ praise came with a warning, though.

“The key is to stay injury free and to be managed well. He plays in a very attritional position and you don’t want to see players like Tom finished at 25.”

Fellow teammate and Tom’s twin brother, Ben, was also highlighted as a player for the future by Ross.

Yet to be capped at test level, Ben has captained the England U20 side, and toured with Eddie Jones’ squad to Argentina in 2017.

“Tom is a bit ahead of him at the moment but give them a couple of years and I don’t see any reason why they can’t be both playing for England.”

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'He can go on to become the best-ever seven to play the game'