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The 'don't get hit off your feet' Tom Curry message for England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Adam Pretty/World Rugby via Getty Images)

It’s been this week’s lazy Rugby World Cup narrative, that somehow England playing the Springboks in this Saturday’s semi-final in Paris is a chance for ‘revenge’ after the 12-32 defeat suffered in the 2019 final in Yokohama.

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Time moves on and while both matchday 23s this weekend feature numerous players from that decider, drawing a connection between matches four years apart is far-fetched.

Just ask the England players themselves. Those wheeled out for an interview in recent days literally repeated the same thing, that what unfolded 47 months ago in the Far East has no bearing on a semi-final clash that was only confirmed last Sunday when the English eliminated Fiji and South Africa edged the host France in the quarter-finals.

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“They are a different team and we are a different team. They are a very good team,” deflected Curry when he became the latest to be asked whether 2019 had anything to do with what will take place on Saturday night at Stade de France.

“We are fully excited to go after this week. The Springboks have changed, they have developed their game. They have matured and we have as well so it’s a clash between two very exciting teams going at each other and we can’t wait to go.

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“I have been lucky enough to experience both (victories and losses against the Springboks). I understand what it takes and it’s going to be a lot. It is always a great game when you play against them.

“It’s a semi-final. If that’s not enough to get you up for a game, I don’t know what will. Everyone is different but ultimately we do have to get on the same page and get that buzz. For me, there’s no better place you would rather be than in a semi-final against South Africa. You look at their team and our team, it is properly exciting.”

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One guarantee is that it will be a bruising affair. With that in mind, what is advice Curry must adhere to at his first collision?

“Don’t get hit off your feet. You have got to get excited for it. It’s a semi-final against South Africa. It is a physical test. Playing against teams like that is exciting because you know what you need to do. We can’t wait to go.”

Mention physicality, last weekend’s breakdown battle in Marseille between Curry and Fiji’s Levani Botia turned spicy in the second half with play stopped and the pair of flankers squaring up to each other.

“The main thing is what happens between the whistle, making sure that you’re on to the next thing and attacking whatever is next,” said Curry about such altercations.

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He has already paid a price at this World Cup for naughtiness, getting red-carded after less than three minutes into England’s tournament opener against Argentina at Stade Velodrome.

That resulted in a two-game ban and plenty of training before getting stuck back in on successive weekends against Samoa and Fiji. “It has been different, to say the least, but it has been exciting to be part of this group.

“When we have been able to train and do all the other bits apart from play, it has been brilliant to be a part of. That is a sign of where this group is at. I would like to play a few more minutes – who wouldn’t – but we are here having a great time and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

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2 Comments
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KiwiSteve 245 days ago

Second Red card inevitable

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