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Sale verdict on the Tom Curry comeback, his England tour prospects

By Liam Heagney
Tom Curry moves through the throng of Sale supporters in Bath (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Sale boss Alex Sanderson has given his verdict on Saturday’s comeback by Tom Curry 31 weeks after he last played a rugby match. The back-rower hadn’t been on a rugby pitch since England clinched their bronze medal win over Argentina at the Rugby World Cup.

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That appearance took place on October 27 and with weeks of reporting for Gallagher Premiership duty at the Sharks, he seized up on the training ground and an operation was recommended to mend a wonky hip.

Saturday’s semi-final at The Rec was 46 minutes old when Sanderson lobbed Curry into the fray. He went on to impress in a brutally physical affair eventually won by Bath on a 31-23 scoreline courtesy of Niall Annett’s 74th-minute converted maul try.

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Curry wasn’t the slightest bit hesitant getting stuck in and he was credited with seven tackles, including a 58th-minute beauty that catapulted Josh Bayliss backwards and onto the ground even though the Bath sub had stepped one way and then another to gain momentum before the collision.

Amid the aching disappointment of defeat, the Sale boss wasn’t shy in enthusing about the silver lining that was Curry’s rumbustious return. “How good, how good,” he beamed when asked for his thoughts on his returning back-rower.

“Just straight back into it and he probably could have started today but it’s not really fair starting him when he has had seven months out. But yeah, it’s a great comeback. I’m really chuffed for him. Tom Ellis was another one and Luke James, that’s three lads who have been injured for quite a long time so I’m happy they got in the field as well.”

England are back in action on June 22, beginning their end-of-season tour away to Japan in Tokyo before moving onto a two-Test series versus the All Blacks in New Zealand. Is Curry international rugby ready? “Yeah!”

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Will he tour? “It’s not down to me. I want Tom to have a healthy and long international career and everyone is aware of the fact that it’s not the years, it’s the mileage with Tom, that he has only got a certain number of games.

“So how they use his games to the best end is down to them and their management. There is a World Cup in three years. He is moving really well and he is a big leader, and I’m sure they will build the team around him because he is that type of person and a player.”

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