Rugby World finds out more about three back-rows with busy summers ahead
AGE 18 COUNTRY ENGLAND POSITION FLANKER
When did you start playing? Tom: Aged four at London Grasshoppers.
Ben: Our dad coached us at our club and our uncle (John Olver) coached us at Oundle School. Have you always been back-rows? Ben: No. When we fi rst started
I was a scrum-half, then a fl y-half. Tom: I was a centre throughout. When it moved to a fi ve-man scrum I was a second-row. Ben only came into the forwards when it moved to an eight-man scrum in Year Eight. Happy to end up at fl anker? Tom: Our mum’s not, especially with the caulifl ower ears! I really enjoy fl anker, it’s the best…
Ben: …of both worlds.
Tom: You mix in with the backs and get the physicality of the forwards. Did you play any other sports? Ben: Football, cricket, athletics. At primary school, I was indoor bowls singles and doubles champion! Tom: On a Sunday we’d do rugby in the morning, then we’d shoot off and do 90 minutes of football in the afternoon. Our legs would be screaming at the end of it!
Ben: We’d turn up at football with muddy knees and elbows because we didn’t even have time to shower. When did you link up with Sale? Ben: At 14. We played for Crewe & Nantwich and were picked up. Are you always competitive? Tom: When we played garden cricket in the summer we got extremely competitive and knew how to wind each other up.
Ben: It’s harder now. With the bench press, he’s not near me. Tom: And my legs and lower body are better.
Ben: We’ve grown up a bit.
Tom: We compete about turnovers. Do you have the same skill-set? Tom: We’re pretty different. I pass before contact and he passes after contact. I usually go for a dominant tackle and he goes for a chop. Ben: I go for more turnovers! When did you represent England? Tom: U16 – but Ben didn’t. Ben: I was in the U16 second team. Tom: We both went to South Africa with the U18s and played U20s this year. It’s a good step. It’s nice going from the Sale environment to 20s and changing it up, mixing with different players and coaches. It helps your all-round game.
Ben: It’s a different environment. Here the pressure is to win, with the 20s there is more freedom to play because you’re there to develop. Tom: It’s nice to play with guys like Zach Mercer and Joe Cokanasiga – people who’ve played for their fi rst team and come back to the 20s. Ben: To hear what they have to say about their experiences.
How did you find out about your selection for the Argentina tour? Tom: Half an hour before the squad was named, we got a phone call from the media guy at Sale, asking for a quote.
Ben: I was in bed and just didn’t know what to say. What are your goals for the tour?
Tom: To learn. If I get a cap, brilliant, but there are so many back-rows – Robshaw, Haskell, Wood…
Ben: We’re not just there to train. We want to push the intensity and raise the energy like Eddie (Jones) said in the media.
Tom: We won’t be taking a step back, that’s when you take yourself out of the frame. To get a first cap, you have to push the intensity. Have you ever played against your cousin, Sam Olver? Tom: Not yet, but it’s getting closer. It’s a massive family thing. Ben: Our parents and grandparents are probably more excited about it than we are. What do you do in any downtime? Ben: Sleep.
Tom: I’ve just taken up clay pigeon shooting. Have you got any hidden talents? Ben: I used to be really good at table tennis.
Tom: I’m quite boring. Actually, put worm charming!
Twin ambition Tom Curry (left) fends off identical twin brother Ben
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