England have suffered a major set back with Tom Curry, the Sale flanker, ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations championship with a hamstring injury.
Alex Sanderson, the Sale director of rugby, revealed that Curry, who has been replaced in the England squad to face Wales by brother Ben, will be out of action for “four to six” weeks. Curry was injured training with England and has damaged his hamstring – on the other leg to the one that previously kept him out.
Sanderson said: “Tom has a hamstring injury on the opposite leg to the one he did six weeks ago and it’s a soft muscle that extends into the tendon and it’s four to six weeks. Tom played 80 mins on the Saturday and (was injured) on the Monday – it is something to do with the physical demands of an international camp and he is frustrated.”
Sanderson has spent time ensuring the Curry twins are in the right mental state to deal with their various set backs with Tom out injured and Ben selected after being left out of the Italy game following his start against Scotland.
He explained: “Ben and Tom are England players and there is the added the factor they are twins playing in similar positions and are in competition which makes it more difficult to take your twin brother is involved in your stead. Anyone would empathise with that and I have a brother and as much as you want them to be in you don’t want someone that close take your place – it hurts more when you live with them.
“Ben has fought his way in and then for that to be taken from under his feet which is difficult for an experienced player let along someone winning their second cap. Your ability to handle non-selection and flip between the two is one of the hardest mental skills that you can acquire. Add to that it is his twin involved in this then it should be a very sensitive and well thought through plan.
“With the nature of the injuries and the fallow week I wouldn’t have handled it the same way but I have a great deal more sense of the mentality for these two. England don’t need to have that mentality because they have the pick of the bunch and that is the nature of the international environment compared to a club one.
“ All of the factors that could have derailed Tom and Ben haven’t. Ben is in a great place going back in, but it has taken no mean effort on the trips home to reframe his mentality from playing for us and going back to England.
“Ben was influential in every part of the game against Scotland and that nature of international rugby is that any mistake gets highlighted and exaggerated. Ben knows he can play at this level and will go into his game less mentally stressed and able to show what he is about. It should be easier for him.”