Tom Curry insists he is happy to put his body on the line again when Sale Sharks face Exeter in their return Heineken Champions Cup clash on Sunday.
The flanker is coming towards the end of a hectic 2019 that has seen him play in 14 England Tests – including six matches at the World Cup in Japan after a punishing pre-tournament training programme.
On top of his international commitments, the 21-year-old has also played 13 matches for Sale this year, giving him a running total of 27 games.
The combative nature of his back row play led to his inclusion on the shortlist for the World Rugby player of the year award, but his first post-World Cup outing for Sale in the Champions Cup against La Rochelle saw him gouged by Pierre Bourgarit, who was banned for six weeks.
Sale boss Steve Diamond is keenly aware of the need to sensible handle Curry’s workload. “We will monitor him,” Diamond told RugbyPass. “Tom is an honest kid and he will tell us how he is feeling and at Worcester, when we were down to 14 men, he wanted to stay on.”
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Yellow-carded in last Sunday’s 22-20 Champions Cup loss at home to Exeter, Curry is ready to keep on mucking in knowing that he doesn’t have an extended break until the end of a season where there is another Six Nations campaign and plenty of Premiership action still to negotiate.
Curry said: “I did have two weeks off after the World Cup and I will have five weeks at the end of the season and that will be the time to reflect on all that has happened, but for now it is about doing a job for Sale.
“You feel a bit battered and bruised after every game, but then you go again and if I am told to play then I will give everything.
‘I just like the feeling that I’m improving. That is what motivates me, to just keep getting better’
– @LandRoverRugby ambassador @TomCurry98 talks to @heagnel as @EnglandRugby assemble for @rugbyworldcup training ? ????
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 23, 2019
“Going into the Six Nations (with England) you always take the momentum from previous campaigns and with the World Cup experience, people developing and with some new players possibly coming in that will spice things up.”
Having won 19 England caps and made the No6 jersey his own, Curry doesn’t want to be put into cotton wool as he thrives on competition, particularly when playing alongside twin brother Ben in the Sale back row.
With the England flanker now attracting more opposition attention – as witnessed in the La Rochelle game – will the presence of an identical twin on the pitch confuse those wanting to negate his play?
Not for the faint-hearted.https://t.co/sFiHynreMg
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 9, 2019
“Ben and I are pretty similar and if they manage to get one of us then that is pretty good for them,” said Curry.
With Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez also in the back row mix at Sale, the club has two sets of identical twins to select and while this seems remarkable, Curry points out that he experienced this at school.
“At school Ben and I were centre-backs in the football team and the right- and left-backs were also identical twins! Having two sets of identical twins is a weird scenario and it makes it tough for everyone else, but it is good for the team having brothers. It probably makes the team a bit tighter.”
'Everyone makes mistakes. I have made mine and I have learned the lessons that have come from it.'
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 28, 2019
One player Diamond wants to see used more by Sale this winter is Rohan Janse van Rensburg, the 17-stone, 6ft inside centre who is proving to be one of best defence-busting midfielders in the Premiership.
The midfielder won his only Springbok cap against Wales in 2016 and like, Faf de Klerk, arrived in Manchester in the Test wilderness. His current form, though, is sure to attract the attention of whoever succeeds Rassie Erasmus as South Africa’s World Cup-winning coach.
“I have been asking Paul Deacon – our backs coach – why we aren’t using him more because he is such a threat,” said Diamond. “In the make-up of the team, I want a big back and a centre who can get over the gain line.
“That is what Saracens have always had thanks to Brad Barritt and it is a case of ‘stop me if you can’. It is difficult to score from lineout drives at the moment but if you get five metres out then create some space for van Rensburg to hit. If it’s a two-on-one he will still score.”
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