Eddie Jones is viewing Tom Curry as ‘No8 project’ for England, but Sale boss Steve Diamond will not be playing the back row in that position for the ambitious Gallagher Premiership club.
With Mark Wilson and Saracens’ Billy Vunipola unavailable, Jones controversially used Curry at No8 in the opening Six Nations loss to France last Sunday and he looks certain to continue with what many believe is an unnecessary experiment in next Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland at Murrayfield.
Jones has ignored viable alternatives at No8 in Harlequins’ Alex Dombrandt, Bristol’s Nathan Hughes and Exeter’s Sam Simmonds and is certain Curry can handle the different role.
However, Sale boss Diamond, who is preparing his team Friday night’s Premiership Cup semi-final at home to Saracens that will feature fit-again Wilson following knee surgery, doesn’t see any benefit for the Manchester-based club in giving Curry game time at No8 in a side captained by Jono Ross, their regular No8.
Diamond told RugbyPass: “I haven’t had any conversation with Eddie about Tom playing No8 and he won’t play at No8 for us.
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“Tom has a very good skills set but his best position is six or seven… but you have to remember I’m a mere minnow in the world of coaching. I have only seen this guy playing six or seven for the last three years!
“The irony of it is this is that if your team gets to the final of a World Cup and the best player in that team is Tom Curry – for example – then why would you play him out of position?
“However, I always back the national coach and fair play to Eddie, he will see him in a couple of games and if it doesn’t work out he will revert him back to his best position.”
No let-up yet regarding England's hottest Six Nations topic https://t.co/eGOPToajN9
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 5, 2020
Turning to matters Sale, while Diamond is pleased that Wilson’s injury has now come right, it won’t be until the February 21 league game versus Leicester that South African World Cup winners Lood de Jager and Faf de Klerk come into selection contention.
De Jager has been recovering from the shoulder injury suffered in the World Cup final while de Klerk has been rehabilitating a knee ligament injury he collected on club duty this season.
“Mark Wilson will be on the bench against Saracens for the semi-final and is ready for action having trained really well,” explained Diamond.
‘There is a nice balance to that back row and the issue that Eddie left out Dombrandt… that is causing a difference of opinion’
– @jameshaskell tells @chrisjonespress what he makes of the backlash Eddie Jones has faced over the @EnglandRugby back row
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 4, 2020
“He will be covering all the back row positions looking after Ben Curry, Jono Ross and Dan du Preez’s positions. With Lood and Faf, we are looking at them being ready for Leicester at home.
“We have these two big games with Saracens – the semi-final and then at their place in the league – and the statistics show we have played them 17 times and beaten them only three times.
“I don’t care who they have missing because they have a system and a structure that works. In our quest to get to where we want to be as a club then we need to try our best in all competitions.”
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