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The first public England reaction to the Tom Curry suspension

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England have given their first public reaction to the three-game ban – reducible to two via tackle school – handed down on Tuesday evening to Tom Curry.

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The red-carded openside was sent from the Stade Velodrome field just three minutes into last Saturday’s Rugby World Cup win over Argentina for his head-on-head contact with Juan Cruz Mallia and he will now sit out the upcoming matches against Japan in Nice this Sunday and versus Chile in Lille on September 23.

The red card was the fourth brandished to an England player in the past six matches, but defence coach Kevin Sinfield was adamant that Steve Borthwick’s squad does not have a discipline problem. He even referenced the concession of just seven penalties versus the Pumas in last weekend’s 27-10 win as evidence.

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“It’s important for us we move on pretty quickly. Some things we can’t control and for us and for Tom in particular we need to look forward. Like I said, control the controllables. We move on,” he said at base camp in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage on Wednesday afternoon when initially questioned on the Curry suspension.

“Discipline-wise, we gave something like seven penalties away at the weekend – I don’t think we have got a disciplinary problem. I thought it was really unfortunate what happened at the weekend. It was different to the other challenges that have taken place.

“We will continue to work on our tackle skill and work incredibly hard. The guys have really bought in and have done for some time, but they are human and they make mistakes. We have got to understand that it is part of the sport now.

“Unfortunately we have had to deal with four (reds) in six (matches), not just three in four. We are getting pretty good at defending with 14 men but we want to have our full complement on the field for as long as possible at all times. We hope to improve that area but it is tricky to pinpoint exactly what that is.

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“Like I said, we want to move on now. There has been a fair bit of noise around this group around the red cards, some of it we understand, but we just feel we need to move forward and control what we can.”

Asked if he had anything to say on why Curry was sanctioned with suspension while other head contact incidents in the Chile-Japan and South Africa-Scotland games only merited a yellow card and play on respectively, Sinfield replied: “I love the question but again, we are moving on.

“I understand it; I understand you want a comment from me but we just feel the right thing is to get on with our jobs. We can’t control any of that [the other incidents].

“We’ll spend time with Tom and put him through tackle school. We will be working incredibly hard with him again and we will get him right for a couple of weeks’ time.”

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Could Sinfield describe, though, the effect the current head contact issue is generally having on the England squad? “It makes life really difficult for the players first and foremost and that is what we are all here for. We all want to see the players on the field, we want to see the best players in the world go head to head – pardon the pun – but we have just got to be careful.

“Again, we control what we can control. We are in full support of the rules and regulations. We try and train as hard as we can but within the laws of the game and we will continue to do that.”

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Comments

3 Comments
J
Jon 311 days ago

I take it appealing the on field ruling is impossible without risking a longer penalty?

So many reds for nothing more than silly play. Sure he should have got out of the (stopped sooner) landing area faster, or committed to a tackle (tipped his head down, avoiding head contact and lowering his height), but there's not enough force in that contact to warrant a red card let alone go to a committee. Should have appealed.

C
CT 312 days ago

Purely accidental he knocked his nut in the incident should let him play

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