Curry lined up to cover for Vu­nipola

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup - By Gavin Mairs RUGBY NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT in Tokyo

Eng­land in­sist they can cope if Billy Vu­nipola is ruled out of their fi­nal Pool C match against France, de­spite not hav­ing an­other spe­cial­ist No8 in their 31-man squad.

Vu­nipola was with­drawn at half­time of Eng­land’s 39-10 vic­tory over Ar­gentina at the Tokyo Sta­dium on Satur­day af­ter twist­ing an an­kle and will to­day dis­cover the re­sults of a scan. Eng­land will not take any risks with the Sara­cens for­ward, who has started all 12 Tests this year, hav­ing al­ready qual­i­fied for the quar­ter-fi­nals af­ter three wins.

Tom Curry, the Sale Sharks flanker, is likely to be switched to No 8 for the match on Satur­day, hav­ing deputised in the po­si­tion dur­ing the se­cond half against Ar­gentina, with Lewis Lud­lam start­ing at blind­side flanker and Sam Un­der­hill at open side.

The other op­tion to Ed­die Jones, the Eng­land head coach, is to start Mark Wil­son at No8, a po­si­tion in which the New­cas­tle flanker, who is join­ing Sale Sharks on loan at the end of the World Cup, has started three times for Eng­land.

“We knew we would have to move peo­ple around, so we have trained ac­cord­ingly with the dif­fer­ent back rows in those po­si­tions,” Neal Hat­ley, the scrum coach, said.

“I thought he [Curry] did re­ally well [at No 8]. He is a good foot­baller. Mark Wil­son played the whole of the au­tumn last year for us there and Lewis Lud­lam has played a lit­tle bit at No8, so who­ever we pick there, we have good con­fi­dence in the train­ing we have put in place for them to do a job.”

Asked if Wil­son had been un­for­tu­nate to have missed out so far in this tour­na­ment – he was a re­place­ment for the vic­tory over the United States and has started one game, the World Cup warm-up match against Italy, since the end of last sea­son – Hat­ley said it was a re­flec­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion in the back row.

“That is the beauty of the squad,” Hat­ley said. “No­body stands still. Mark, a year ago in the au­tumn, was one of the stand­out play­ers. What is hap­pen­ing is that Tom Curry, Sam Un­der­hill, Lewis Lud­lam and Billy, these guys, every­body, are getting bet­ter. Mark Wil­son is play­ing a bit bet­ter, but the com­pe­ti­tion within the squad, the other guys are push­ing up there with him.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.