England's Curry favours Australia's 'Pooper' at World Cup
WORLD CUP REACTION: England loose forward Tom Curry will have the chance to make a fresh study of Australia’s celebrated ‘Pooper’ duo when the teams launch their respective World Cup campaigns this weekend.
Although they are not in the same pool, both Australia and England are in Sapporo where the Wallabies face Fiji on Saturday before England begin their campaign a day later against Tonga.
While England winning the World Cup in 2003 is, unsurprisingly, the 21-year-old Curry’s earliest memory of the tournament, the Sale flank has a more vivid recollection of how Australia’s David Pocock and Michael Hooper – known collectively as ‘Pooper’ – starred at the 2015 edition.
The pair, renowned for ‘jackling’ and tackling at the breakdown, where their ability to turn over and slow down opposition ball makes them hugely influential figures, were instrumental in Australia’s run to the Twickenham final four years go, where the Wallabies were beaten by New Zealand.
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And with Pocock, in what is set to be his last international tournament before retirement, now recovered from a calf problem, the dynamic duo were both included in Australia’s starting team to face Fiji.
Curry, asked about his earliest World Cup memory, told reporters in Sapporo on Thursday: “The 2003 World Cup is obviously massive in English rugby history but for me the classic story is my dad celebrating when we won and he hit his head on a light.
“Then, a bit more recently, 2015 is probably the first time I was really looking into rugby in terms of the analysis and specific positions, how people played with their attributes.
“Just looking at the ‘Pooper’ relationship, how a back-row works together and the different attributes that they bring to a team and how effective they can be, not just on the team but the tournament as a whole.
“That’s probably my biggest standout memory.”
As to whether he and Sam Underhill could form a similar alliance for England, where the likes Lewis Ludlam and Mark Wilson are also vying for places in a back-row featuring No 8 Billy Vunipola, Curry said: “It’s a difficult question. We are our own individuals.
“We’re not exactly the same as Hooper and Pocock, but we do bring our own attributes to our game.
“Any relationship, no matter who it is — because we’ve got a great selection of back-rows out here — means anyone who steps up will definitely be looking to have that impact, as an individual and in that relationship in the back-row,” the 13-times capped loose forward added.
“To emulate that would be nice.”