From the moment World Cup winner Lewis Moody saw Sale Sharks star Tom Curry strut his stuff, he knew England had a special talent on their hands.
Curry, who learnt his trade at Crewe and Nantwich RUFC, has shot to stardom in the Six Nations after a string of virtuoso back-row performances with Steve Diamond’s side.
Moody won 71 caps for England – mostly in the position where Curry plies his trade – and spoke glowingly of the potential of Tom and brother Ben, both back-row forwards aged 20.
“I remember watching his first game at 19 in Argentina and being very impressed,” said Moody, speaking on behalf of Land Rover.
“Having spoken to scouts and recruiters, they’ve been very excited about him and his brother.
“A lot of people thought Ben would come through quicker because he was more willing to do the work in the tight.
“Tom has been able to add that natural athletic ability that stands him out, to pick gaps, to offload and play, with an ability to get in hard over the ball and make dominant tackles.
“He’s doing the hard work that maybe we didn’t see him doing at 18 or 19 and it’s great to see that kind of development in a young player.”
England have made an explosive start to the Guinness Six Nations, only stymied by a defeat to Wales in the cauldron-like Principality Stadium last time out.
For this weekend’s assignment against Italy, Eddie Jones has opted to shuffle his pack in the back row with Newcastle’s Mark Wilson replaced by Wasps star Brad Shields.
But Curry remains in the side and will make a third successive Test start against the Azzurri, who have never beaten England since joining the Championship in 2000.
Moody has been enthused by Curry’s performances in the Six Nations so far – particularly enjoying the forward’s Terry Butcher-esque bloodied but unbowed turn against Ireland.
“There are a number of young guys in that back-row area pushing for places and I think Tom is front of the queue,” said Moody.
“He’s having to pitch in on the physical side of the game – coming up from a breakdown covered in blood against Ireland was quite something to watch.
“After performances with that type of physicality, England fans are going to put that expectation on him now.
“If you can get (Sam) Underhill and Curry back on the pitch, that’s a mouth-watering prospect, with the likes of Nathan Hughes pushing too.
“It’s been a delight to watch him play and he could have been man of the match in all of the games England have played.”
Lewis Moody is a Land Rover ambassador. To be in with a chance to be a Land Rover mascot at RWC2019 visitwww.premiershiprugby.com/landrovercompetition