MARTIN CORRY: Tom Curry relieved Eddie Jones’ headache in the back row after re-entering number 8 for England
Tom Curry, who plays at number eight, has been the hot topic for the past two weeks, but the rear driving congress in England always comes back to the fact that Billy Vunipola is not available.
Eddie Jones left that with a headache that might have subsided after Saturday’s victory in Murrayfield.
Curry is a No 7 with No 8 and Sam Underhill is a No 7 with No 7. Curry also played No 6 at the World Cup and although there is a big difference between playing No 6 and No 7, the game rules are No 6 and No 8 interchangeable.
Tom Curry (center) played well out of position at number eight for England on Saturday
The match against Scotland was one for flankers, England played on their strengths and the pair were both exceptional. But where does Eddie go? Nathan Hughes is out of favor, so Curry looks forward to being at least at number 8 until Vunipola returns.
I preferred No. 8 just because you are completely in it. I didn’t play much # 7 and at No. 6 you run the risk of not coming into play if you are not careful, because you are invariably the third player.
At number 6 you react to things and sometimes at number 7 you are first at the breakdown, but at numbers 6 and 8 you respond to what happened during the malfunction.
The attacker, who is a natural blindside flanker, helped England win 13-6 against rivals Scotland
No. 8 scrummaging is not that difficult to pick up, but ball control at the base of the scrum can be a problem if the set piece is not stable. Against France, Curry lost one ball, but his pack went back and it wasn’t his fault. You have to be comfortable with the ball on your feet on No8 and that comes with time.
A lot depends on the balance in the back row. With Billy, he is the most important ball carrier and your role between No. 6 and No. 7 is to support him. The problem I have is not necessarily playing Curry at number 8, it is that the balance of the package looks wrong. If you are not the most important ball carrier, it becomes more difficult.
Again, wear everything. The absence of Billy Vunipola was made worse by another heavy carrier, Manu Tuilagi, who was injured. Mako Vunipola was hired to strengthen this department and did a little on Saturday. Curry also got stuck and wore quite a bit of No 8.
Curry celebrates winning the Calcutta Cup with Lewis Ludlam (left) and Sam Underhill (center)
If you play no. 7, you will be the first on the ground in the first phase, and you will be slower with no. If you are No 7, you are right on the ball, but if you are No 6 and No 8, you play a little more heads-up. But are you going to be effective at the breakdown or will you be the first defender? Underhill was completely in defense.
In general, Curry and Underhill had a pretty good day in desperate circumstances and Eddie can hold on to what he has now. A few times, Curry was caught waiting in the backfield on stairs, leaving him out of the match. That removes some of his strengths, including his demolition work. After all, it was only his second cap at number 8 after a life with flanker.