Since bursting onto the international scene in 2017, Tom Curry has been a force to be reckoned with in England’s back-row. The talented flanker, who plays alongside twin brother Ben at Sale, has his eyes firmly set on leading England’s charge to World Cup glory in Japan this month. We sat down with the 21-year-old to find out more.
The World Cup is fast approaching, how have the preparations gone?
Really well. The environment the coaches and players have created in camp is brilliant and we feel we are in a strong place. Everything seems to be heading in the right direction and the more the team gets together the stronger everyone gets.
You made your test debut in 2017, what’s been your England highlight so far?
My first cap against Argentina was very special and something that I will always remember. However, I think my first test at the Millennium Stadium stands out as my best memory so far. You hear stories about the atmosphere in and around the stadium, but to experience it first-hand was very special. Unfortunately, we lost the game, Wales were too strong, but the experience was invaluable.
How has the experience of being thrust into the test limelight so early in your career impacted on you personally?
It’s been exciting and a big challenge. It’s a nice feeling to have had guys around me in a similar position, players like Joe Cokanasiga, Sam Underhill and Alex Dombrandt. It makes you feel more comfortable and it’s a credit to the senior players who are fantastic in helping to settle the younger guys into the squad.
Being a young player, what has been the best piece of advice given to you by Eddie Jones?
If there is one specific piece of advice that springs to mind, it’s just to keep enjoying it. He is very good at making sure you do the little things well and enjoy the experience while you’re there.
What excites you the most about the upcoming World Cup?
The challenge is the exciting part for me. I am determined to give it everything. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, there is so much work to be done over the next few weeks to make sure I am ready. I am sure it will be a surreal experience.
You had an outstanding 2018/19, winning the Premiership Rugby Discovery of the Season and you were nominated for the RPA Young Player of the Year award, what makes Sale Sharks the perfect club for you?
It’s the potential. We believe we have an exciting squad who can beat anyone on any given day. Last season was great but with a few fresh additions to the club in the off-season and under a very committed coaching team, we believe we can push even higher up the table in 2019/20.
You mentioned potential, what makes it such a great club to be a young player coming through the ranks?
The opportunity. Steve Diamond is brilliant. As a manager of young players he is not scared to throw someone into the team who he believes is ready and he will always back you to perform. He places a huge amount of confidence on your shoulders and inspires you to make that step up and play well.
Do you enjoy playing alongside your twin brother Ben?
Absolutely. We’re both very competitive and obviously playing the same position means we’re gunning for selection, but we do enjoy the challenge. We’re both very similar in terms of our strengths and it’s nice to train together and help each other improve areas of our game. It’s always a proud feeling to see his name on the team sheet and playing well for Sale.
Is there one player that you have tried to build your game around?
Not really. I’m not a big fan of just picking one type of player, it’s almost a case of building a Frankenstein. You try to build your game using different elements of certain players. Richie McCaw is a guy I watched a lot of growing up and he was extremely strong around the set piece. David Pocock and Francois Louw were huge in the 2015 World Cup, so I watched a lot of them and how dominant they were in the rucks. From an English perspective, Chris Robshaw has always been a guy I have looked up to and admired his work rate.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career?
My Dad. Growing up my brother and I would train together, and our Dad would always be there alongside us. There were stairs up to a bridge over a road, and we would sprint to the top, which was obviously demanding as a youngster, but Dad would always be there alongside us pushing us on step by step.