Sale reach decision on recruitment after latest Tom Curry injury
Alex Sanderson has come to a decision on whether or not Sale will dip into the short-term recruitment market to replace Tom Curry, the England back-rower whose hip surgery will see him miss the remainder of the 2023/24 season.
Curry hasn’t played for the Sharks since his return from helping his country to finish third at the recent Rugby World Cup in France. He seized up on the training ground and specialist medical opinion recommended he go for an operation that would sideline him for quite some time but future-proof the 25-year-old’s career in the longer run.
This frustrating loss of their talisman left director of rugby Sanderson with the dilemma of bringing in a fresh signing to make up for Curry’s unavailability or else stick with the back row players they currently have at a club who are seeking to go one better than last season’s final loss to Saracens and win the Gallagher Premiership title.
Sale are currently top of the table after six wins in seven ahead of Friday’s trip to Harlequins, matches in which Ernst van Rhyn and Dan du Preez have been ever-present starters in the back row with Ben Curry and Sam Dugdale starting three each and Rouben Birch starting once.
Sanderson has now confirmed that Sale have called time on bringing in a replacement for Tom Curry, believing they wouldn’t get sufficient value from a new recruit. “Do we get another player and warehouse of him to the detriment of the lads we want to come through and bring through?’ pondered the Sharks boss at his latest midweek media briefing.
“We have looked at the loading of all the lads so far and we have a few to come back a little bit later through injury, JL (du Preez) has been injured, Tom Ellis is out for the next three, four weeks, Ben came back a little bit later.
“The reality is that we are probably looking for a player to help us out in December, because they are starting to fatigue seven games in, through to the end of January and then we have a break. So then would be looking for someone for two months before we freshen them up and go again.
“Like, this player has to be better than a Ben Curry, an Ernst van Rhyn, a JL du Preez and a Dan du Preez, it’s quite a high bar. I don’t think there are that many, so unless we are going to get someone to add to those four that we couldn’t rotate… bear in mind we have Ben Bamber coming through and Rouben Birch and Sam Dudgale, all really good guys who are young and coming through.
“Like, we’d block their pathway and we would have to rotate a really good player with those four who need the game time anyway and we have only got two months to do it. So you’d be getting someone in for six months, we need them for two. It didn’t make sense financially or by way of loading or warehousing players so we are not on the search – we have called time on that.”
Tom Curry will be one of eight Sale players who will meet with England boss Steve Borthwick next Tuesday at the club’s training ground in Manchester. Manu Tuilagi, Ben Curry, Bevan Rodd, George Ford, Jonny Hill, Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck are the others involved in that gathering.