>> Twin ter­rors who add ex­tra bite to Sharks

Jon New­combe talks to Sale’s Curry twins about their ri­valry and Eng­land’s sum­mer tour

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page -

IDEN­TI­CAL twins Ben and Tom Curry are like­for-like re­place­ments in ev­ery sense of the word. But Ben, the older of the two by an hour-and-ahalf, says nei­ther of them have any prob­lem play­ing in­ter­chang­ing back row roles within the Sale match­day squad.

In the first few weeks of the sea­son com­men­ta­tors have had to do a dou­ble-take as one came on for the other, with Ben start­ing against Wasps and Lon­don Ir­ish and Tom wear­ing seven against New­cas­tle.

While com­pet­ing for the same jersey could be awk­ward, Ben says Sale han­dle the sit­u­a­tion well and that light-hearted ri­valry comes with the ter­ri­tory in the Curry house­hold.

Ben said: “Sale have been re­ally good with us, giv­ing us as much in­for­ma­tion as they can about what sort of team they are look­ing to put out so that, when it comes to the team be­ing an­nounced, we know ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing.

“You are al­ways com­pet­ing against some­one else in your po­si­tion, in this case it just hap­pens to be my brother.

“I think com­pet­i­tive­ness is a fam­ily trait. We’re rac­ing against each other to see who can get to train­ing the quick­est – all within the speed limit, of course – and I’m win­ning.”

While Tom took all the plau­dits for his man-of-the-match dis­play in Ar­gentina, fel­low Eng­land tourist Ben says his sum­mer was far from wasted.

A back spasm picked up in the Bar­bar­ians game be­fore de­par­ture cost the flanker the chance to be ac­tively in­volved in the 2-0 se­ries win over Los Pu­mas.

But the 19-year-old still trav­elled with the squad and gained an in­sight into the Test match en­vi­ron­ment.

“(De­fence coach) Paul Gus­tard is very knowl­edge­able and one of the best coaches I have worked with. Also, it was great to be around the likes of Dy­lan Hart­ley and Ge­orge Ford,” Ben said.

“It gave me an in­sight into what it takes to earn, in Dy­lan’s case, 80-odd caps. It kind of re­fo­cuses you and high­lights the traits you need to get to that level. It was great to learn off ev­ery­one and I am grate­ful for the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“When I started out last sea­son I wouldn’t say go­ing on the Eng­land tour to Ar­gentina was up there in my thoughts, I was just hop­ing to get on the bench for Sale in the An­gloWelsh Cup and play for the U20s.

“So, it was in­cred­i­ble to get on that tour. But the hard work starts again now be­cause more play­ers are putting their hands up.”

An­other learn­ing curve has been the new law around the tackle. With 14 turnovers from 12 ap­pear­ances, no other back row player in the Premier­ship with a dou­ble-fig­ure turnover count man­aged a bet­ter ra­tio in 2016-17.

But changes to the polic­ing of the break­down has forced Curry and other ace turnover ex­po­nents into a re­think.

“It’s fair enough. Peo­ple go to rugby games to watch en­ter­tain­ing rugby and tries be­ing scored, they don’t want to see two sides just slow­ing the game down,” he said.

“All the best play­ers are adapt­able so that’s what I’ve got to do. You just have to find the way that best works for you and the team.

“The days of mak­ing a tackle, pop­ping back up on your feet on the wrong side and turn­ing over the ball are gone.

“As the ini­tial tack­ler, you have to try and chop the man to ground as quickly as pos­si­ble and then roll away to en­able the se­cond man to come in and make the turnover.”

De­scribed by Sale boss Steve Di­a­mond as be­ing like ‘25-yearold men in 19-year-old bod­ies’, the Curry twins know how to pack a punch in the phys­i­cal­ity stakes.

Both started the sea­son shaven-headed, adding an­other el­e­ment of ag­gres­sion to their on-field de­meanour, al­though Ben’s scalp­ing was in­vol­un­tary.

“It wasn’t out of choice,” he in­sisted. “We played a game on our way to Cas­tres in pre-sea­son where you couldn’t tell a lie but I did.

“The loser had his head shaved as a for­feit. Tom had his done in Ar­gentina so for a while we looked sim­i­lar again.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

See­ing dou­ble: Ben Curry, left, and Tom Curry of Sale Sharks charge down a kick by Rhys Pri­est­land

On tour: From left, Eng­land’s Ben Curry, Joe Cokanasiga, Nick Isiekwe, Jack Sin­gle­ton, Sam Un­der­hill and Tom Curry cel­e­brate vic­tory over Ar­gentina

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.