RED-HOT Tom Curry is racing to become the world’s best No 7 — thanks to the help of Richie McCaw and George Smith.
England’s back-row dynamo was an absolute beast again in Saturday’s cracking win against France.
And it’s no wonder that the 22-year-old is taking his game on every single season after studying two of the greatest modern-day opensides.
Curry has been watching footage of the All Blacks’ two-time World Cup winning skipper McCaw and Australia centurion Smith — one of Eddie Jones’ Wallaby proteges.
He has such a natural ability for the game, and when he burst on to the scene in 2017 he was a revelation.
Against France, in a must-win match for England, Curry took his game to another level again.
Every time he plays he lives up to his reputation, and he produced a game-changing turnover when England were deep in their own 22 and up against it. He performed outstandingly at the World Cup and I just hope the Lions are in action this summer and we see him do the same against South Africa.
And at last, England as a team proved to us they’ve still got it.
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With the right mindset and willingness to realise the talent they have in their ranks, they CAN still play a high-tempo game.
Going toe-to-toe with such a magical France side should give them a real boost to go to Dublin and pick up another win.
It’s just such a shame that it took three games for them to cut out the backchat and get on with playing instead of taking on referees.
It was clearly a conscious effort and after Maro Itoje’s five penalties in Cardiff he found the right level of aggression and accuracy at Twickenham.
I still think Itoje should be captain and he is consistently England’s best player. His ability to perform at such a high level is a real hallmark of greatness.
And what an athlete Anthony Watson is!
On his 50th cap he was looking powerful, and if he keeps out of the treatment room then he can go and grab another 50 caps.
At scrum-half, Ben Youngs and his counterpart, Antoine Dupont, were also magnificent.
Dupont delivered yet again and Youngs, who has been forced into playing a more box-kicking, controlled game, played like he did in his first test.
I was on the pitch with him 107 caps ago when he was bursting around rucks — and this was a nice little reminder.
But, a bit like with Billy Vunipola, it’s the consistency of guys like Curry and Itoje that others need to find.
At last there was a decent performance from No 8 Vunipola and he showed some of that physicality he’s renowned for.
But if I was watching Lions boss Warren Gatland, I don’t have time for guys to be one-in-four-games players. That’s not what being a Lion is about.
You simply have to be on it every single time.
The one thing these guys have on their side is that Wales have to go to France and win, and I think Dublin should be a happy-hunting ground for England.
So Gatland’s selections could still be turned on this last weekend. The only downside to England winning was it being good news for Wales!
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