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Lions legend believes Tom Curry will beat Hamish Watson to No.7 spot

Lions legend Peter Winterbottom is predicting Tom Curry will turn out to be one of the best openside flanker in world rugby and might play a key position for the British and Irish Lions of their take a look at collection with South Africa this summer time.

Nevertheless, Winterbottom, who gained 58 England caps and wore the Lions No 7 jersey in sevens checks – all towards New Zealand – believes it’s critical for Curry’s improvement that England persist with the attacking model of rugby which noticed them defeat France not revert again to the ‘uninteresting’ kicking ways which head coach Eddie Jones has largely used since shedding the 2019 Rugby World Cup remaining.

Jones recognises the particular expertise Curry possesses and stated after the French victory: “He (Curry) is just going to maintain enhancing. It’s scary to assume what he’s going to be like by the World Cup.”

Winterbottom, like Curry, developed his recreation as he gained extra worldwide expertise, enhancing his dealing with capability and turning into a vital weapon for England and the Lions along with his foraging on the breakdown and thumping tackling.

He has taken a eager curiosity within the careers of twins Tom and Ben Curry, who’re the nephews of John Olver, the previous England hooker, who captained Winterbottom once they each performed at Harlequins.

After Curry’s excellent efficiency towards France, Winterbottom is anticipating extra of the identical when England full their Six Nations marketing campaign towards Eire in Dublin on Saturday.

He informed RugbyPass: “I assumed Tom was excellent towards France and the way in which England performed gave him so many extra alternatives. In case you are an openside and England are enjoying a conservative model of rugby, as they’ve completed for who is aware of how lengthy, it’s not straightforward to face out.

“As an openside you aren’t going to get that many alternatives to run with the ball after which it’s all about your defensive work.

“When Tom got here on the scene he was extremely younger and I used to be very aggravated when Eddie Jones made him No 8 for England. You had a man studying his commerce and who will doubtlessly turn out to be one of the best on the earth at No 7 and you might be placing him at No 8, and I assumed that was simply flawed.

“Tom thrived with the way in which England performed towards France, carried the ball extra and appeared like he was moving into positions to make use of his ball-handling and off-loading. He has a giant engine and will get across the pitch and is an all-style No 7, popping up into all totally different positions and that’s very spectacular.

“England need to maintain the ball transferring and into area and can’t return to the kicking recreation. There isn’t any level in doing that.

“Plainly the World Cup remaining defeat to South Africa in 2019 had an actual influence on their pondering and the way in which they perceived find out how to win take a look at matches. England simply performed stress rugby and waited for errors and capitalised on that and two years later they’ve realised it’s not about that.

“The sport isn’t just about kicking – it’s about creating alternatives.”

Winterbottom has additionally been impressed with the type of Hamish Watson, the combative Scotland openside, and sees him as Curry’s primary rival for the Lions jersey for the three-Check collection with the Springboks, which can be staged within the UK as a result of influence of  COVID-19 in South Africa.

He added: “Tom is a hell of a participant now and can get higher and higher and switch into somebody like Richie McCaw.

“One of many fascinating issues is that Tom has been in an England crew enjoying some fairly uninteresting rugby, apart from final Saturday, and I’m certain he’s determined to get chosen for no matter occurs with the Lions this summer time and he has some massive competitors from Hamish Watson of Scotland. It’s a massive 12 months for Tom and having that competitors for the Lions place goes to make him push even more durable.

“In the intervening time I’d decide Tom, though it is going to be a detailed factor with Watson, when you even have Justin Tipuric, a barely totally different kind of participant.

“In a crew enjoying high quality rugby I feel Tom affords a bit bit greater than Watson and goes to turn out to be one of the best on the earth.”

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