Rugby World finds out more about three back-rows with busy summers ahead

Rugby World - - CONTENTS -


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

Ev­ery player fea­tured as a Rugby World Hot­shot will re­ceive a year’s sub­scrip­tion to the magazine. If you have any Hot­shot nom­i­na­tions, please email rug­by­worldlet­ters @

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