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'No poor brother in this scenario': Sanderson on the Curry twins and how he tells them apart

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The return of Ben Curry to full fitness at title-challenging Sale has challenged Alex Sanderson in one particular aspect – trying not to get him mixed up with twin brother Tom, the 2021 Lions tour pick. It was last November at Newcastle when Ben Curry suffered the shoulder injury that robbed him of availability for most of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season.


Since then, Sanderson has succeeded Steve Diamond as director of rugby and it was only last month when the back-rower came back into selection. Having featured at Bath on May 14, Curry has played in Sale’s last four matches, starting two and even coming off the bench as early as the sixth minute at Exeter last Saturday for the injured Cameron Neild.

Curry blotted his copy with a 64th-minute yellow card, an absence that coincided with Sale relinquishing a 19-10 lead and going 20-19 behind, a result which consigned them to a third-place finish and a return to Sandy Park in next Saturday semi-finals. Sanderson is loving the novelty, though, of having both Currys available despite it being a battle to make sure he identifies them correctly.

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RugbyPass is sharing unique stories from iconic British and Irish Lions tours to South Africa in proud partnership with The Famous Grouse, the Spirit of Rugby
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RugbyPass is sharing unique stories from iconic British and Irish Lions tours to South Africa in proud partnership with The Famous Grouse, the Spirit of Rugby

“It’s brilliant and they are almost interchangeable in terms of their abilities on the field, the intensity they train at but also the communications in meetings, they are both leaders,” said Sanderson when asked by RugbyPass about having both Curry twins available for selection in recent weeks.

“So if one isn’t speaking and trying to lead the lads, the other one is (speaking). There is no poor brother in this scenario. I treat them both the same, the same respect and give them the same platform down here.”

The Curry twins celebrate their 23rd birthday on June 15 and quizzed if he can tell one Sale brother from the other, Sanderson added: “Yes, their shorts. We have the initials on the shorts so we just look at the shorts first but they keep getting their hair cut at different times. Just when you think you have got it one of them gets their hair cut and it totally leaves me flummoxed again for two days.


“There are subtle differences. One of them has got a dog so that is easy when you see them out and about but that aside they are very similar in the way they go about everything, how they apply themselves, how they move, how they play, how they talk. They are very similar, as you would expect with peas from the same pod.”

Skipper last Saturday at Exeter, Tom Curry has emerged as the English figurehead as the club and his Lions selection is the local counterbalance to Sale providing five picks for the Springboks squad that will take on Warren Gatland’s tourists in July.

“I’d say very favourably,” reckoned Sanderson regarding now the Manchester public view Lions pick Curry. “Like he is a very approachable lad. We do have a strong northern contingent and a strong South African contingent but it doesn’t feel like that when it is going this well, you just want team. He was captain at the weekend and he has got all the respect even being a young lad from all the South Africans, so that shows you the unit we are at.”



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