TOM CURRY could be forced to adapt to a radical England back-row reshuffle after this summer’s British & Irish Lions Tour, warns Lawrence Dallaglio.
Sale Sharks ace Curry, 23, forms part of a red-hot haul of Lions back-row options set to take on South Africa on 24 July alongside the likes of Taulupe Faletau, Jack Conan, Hamish Watson and Josh Navidi.
Exeter Chiefs’ record-breaking Sam Simmonds – who scored 21 Premiership tries this season – is another potent option and Dallaglio, a three-time tourist, knows boss Warren Gatland has a huge array of talent at his disposal.
Simmonds has accumulated just seven caps under Eddie Jones’ tenure since 2017 in a fiercely competitive back-row for England – spearheaded by the likes of Curry, Sam Underhill and Billy Vunipola.
Dallaglio says it’s time for ‘scientific’ Jones to tinker and hopes the Lions can blaze a trail for the Red Rose to follow ahead of this summer’s autumn internationals.
The 48-year-old said: “As good a players as we have in that position currently, I think England need to have a rethink in the back row and come in with some different options.
“I think the Lions may end up pointing them in the right direction with the like of Courtney Lawes at No.6, Sam Simmonds at No.8 and Tom Curry at No.7. It’s not a bad back row in any way.
“I think Eddie has got a very clear way about how he wants to play the game and picks players accordingly. That’s just the way it is – he’s obviously quite scientific in his approach and that’s the way he seems to come across.
“He seems very numbers-based and very scientific in terms of understanding what it takes to beat opponents.
“I think there are opportunities to look at the skillset of the players and look at the players who get the best out of those players.
“I think that’s the challenge for England over the next couple of seasons – I think we’ve got some wonderfully talented players and we’ve had a decent set of results – not outstanding but not poor – and there’s definitely more in that England side.”
Curry’s buoyant Sale side succumbed to a 40-30 Premiership semi-final defeat against Exeter before Harlequins toppled the defending champions in a thrilling final at Twickenham.
Simmonds, 26, has been front and centre of Chiefs’ domestic dominance and sustained some remarkable form throughout the past season.
A scintillating haul of 21 tries propelled him into Lions contention and despite Jones’ lingering reluctance to give him a chance for England, Gatland saw the light and booked him a spot on the South African plane.
2003 World Cup winner Dallaglio, who starred on the victorious 1997 Tour to the Springbok nation, believes he more than earned his place on the Tour and is urging him to step up to the challenge ahead of the First Test in Cape Town next Saturday.
Dallaglio, who is helping to connect rugby fans across the country with the British & Irish Lions through Land Rover’s nationwide rugby themed treasure hunt, added: “For whatever reason, England have gone in a different direction with their selection but he’s proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he deserves a place on the aeroplane.
“Gatland has seen something in him that he believes will work for the Lions – he’s scored 21 tries, he’s scored more in one season than I did in my entire career for my club.
“I believe he thoroughly serves his place in the squad.
“I think he’s done that, and the next challenge is for him to elevate his performance onto the international stage, which is where the Lions is.
“If he were to do that, that then obviously is going to cause Eddie Jones a few section headaches when he selects his team for the Autumn Series.”