Tom Curry has been tearing into his team-mates on the training field in preparation for his comeback when England complete their World Cup group campaign against Samoa on Saturday.
Curry has played just 179 seconds of the tournament after being sent off for a dangerous tackle in the opener against Argentina, resulting in a two-match ban that ruled him out against Japan and Chile.
It was a frustrating first appearance under Steve Borthwick having missed the Six Nations and last month’s warm-up fixtures because of hamstring and ankle injuries.
Now the high-energy Sale flanker is poised to start England’s final Pool D assignment in Lille with a quarter-final against likely opponents Fiji looming on the horizon.
Attack coach Richard Wigglesworth revealed that Curry was straining at the leash to get his World Cup underway having made his presence felt in practise.
“Tom’s been a menace in training because he’s so good, which means he’s everywhere!” Wigglesworth said.
“He’s incredibly committed and diligent. As you’d expect from the really, really top player that he is, he shows all those traits.
An eventful opening in Marseille
England will play the remainder with 14 men after Tom Curry's yellow was upgraded to a red card, whilst Argentina have returned to full strength after Santiago Carreras’ was sin-binned early on#RWC2023 | #ENGvARG
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 9, 2023
“He’s chomping at the bit and we’re delighted for him that he’s back and raring to go. He won’t hold much back – he’s all action.
“He’s fit as a fiddle and that’s the way he plays – multiple actions in games where he affects the game on both sides of the ball.
“I think we will get the best of Tom Curry in terms of him getting straight into it from the start.
“We’re absolutely delighted to get him back. It was tough for him to come back from that (red card) but he has reacted really well and got stuck into his training.”
Owen Farrell insists the ultra-fit Curry, a world player of the year nominee in 2019, is ready to make his mark on the World Cup.
“Tom’s in a good place. I don’t think there is too much revving up that Tom can do – he is pretty much 100 per cent every time you are out there training,” England’s captain said.
“I’m sure he has got a bit of frustration at not being involved and I’m sure he can’t wait to show what he can do and get out there with the team.”
England secured their quarter-final spot when Japan toppled Argentina on Thursday and progress as pool winners with a match to spare, taking full advantage of being positioned in the easier half of the draw.
When they arrived in France, expectation outside the squad was at an all-time time low amid fears they would fail to emerge from the group, having lost five out of their previous six Tests.
But they have brushed aside Argentina, Japan and Chile and confidence is growing that they can advance deeper into the World Cup.
𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝘂𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲: Tom Curry
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 12, 2023
“So far the team has done well. It is not a massive pat on the back to ourselves because we have still hopefully got a long way to go in this competition. All we are trying to do is focus on what we are doing now,” Farrell said.
“With regards to people writing us off on the outside, that has not been the case in the camp.
“We believe in what we are doing and we have done even when things weren’t going quite as we would have wanted them to.”