Tom Curry has been ruled out of the rest of the autumn internationals, with the England flanker needing to see a specialist to determine whether or not he needs surgery on the ankle injury he suffered last weekend.
Curry has a scan at hospital on Monday after leaving Twickenham in a protective boot and on crutches following the 12-11 victory over South Africa last Saturday, and Steve Borthwick has confirmed that the 20-year-old will be sidelined for at least the next three weeks that rules him out of facing New Zealand this autumn, though it is likely to be longer.
“Tom Curry’s not available for this weekend,” said forwards coach Borthwick on Tuesday. “He’ll be ruled out of the rest of the series too. As you know he injured his ankle. Beyond that we don’t know how long, but it’s not within the next three Test matches so he won’t be available for us.
“He’s injured his ankle, I’m not a doctor but he’s injured his ankle and he had scans earlier in the week, now he’s off to see a specialist this week – though I don’t know exactly when – to understand fully what the next steps are.”
He added: “He’s a fantastic young player, you saw that in the summer and saw that at the weekend in the gametime that he had. He’s got a fantastic future ahead of him, it’s disappointing and we don’t know how long he’ll be injured for, but this injury is an opportunity for him to improve as a player and get better, it’s an opportunity to get working and I know with his attitude he’ll come back in even better shape than what he is in right now.”
The loss of Curry robs England of one of their automatic picks in the pack, and could yet see Eddie Jones forced into a selection reshuffle. Sam Underhill would be the obvious replacement, with the Bath flanker returning to the camp this week after missing out on the squad that beat South Africa.
But with Courtney Lawes now back in full training after recovering from a back injury, Jones could look to move Maro Itoje to blindside flanker with Brad Shield and Mark Wilson moving around the back-row, with the former moving to No 8 and latter to openside flanker.
““We’ve got a lot of options there in the back-row, we’ve got a lot of versatility with Sam Underhill, Mark Wilson, and Zach Mercer’s played right across the back-row,” Borthwick added. “We’ve got a lot of versatility and options through that back-row which is great. We’ve got Courtney Lawes training fully so through that back-five of the scrum – we had Charlie Ewels come on at 6 at the weekend – we’ve got a lot of really good quality players in the back-row.”
But England will feel the loss of Curry, who was one of the star players on the summer tour of South Africa and also impressed during the first-half against them, only to be forced off in the 42nd minute.
“He’s a fantastic young player, you saw that in the summer and saw that at the weekend in the gametime that he had,” Borthwick added. “He’s got a fantastic future ahead of him, it’s disappointing and we don’t know how long he’ll be injured for, but this injury is an opportunity for him to improve as a player and get better, it’s an opportunity to get working and I know with his attitude he’ll come back in even better shape than what he is in right now.”
Borthwick also confirmed that Manu Tuilagi is back in full training, having suffered a groin strain last week that ruled him out of the opening Quilter International, while Owen Farrell is not suffering from any after-effects of the knock he took to his hip during Saturday’s encounter.
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