Eddie Jones' outrageous request
EURO SPOTLIGHT: Eddie Jones believes Sale flank Ben Curry, twin brother of Tom, could become an international scrumhalf.
However, the Premiership club has no intention of handing him the role ahead Francois de Klerk, their World Cup-winning Springbok No.9.
Steve Diamond, the Sale Director of Rugby, whose side faces La Rochelle in the Champions Cup on Friday, confirmed Jones had raised the possibility of Curry, at just over 183 centimetres and 100 kilogrammes, being a potential scrumhalf option, however, he will be wearing the No.7 jersey in France with his twin brother getting a break after his World Cup heroics.
Diamond is happy to move players around his back division, including England wing Chris Ashton, but the concept of turning Curry into a No.9 appears to be a step too far.
The Sale boss is hoping to see both Curry boys named in Jones’s Six Nations squad as back row forwards next week.
“Eddie Jones approached me last year and said he believed Ben Curry could make it as an international No.9,” Diamond told RugbyPass.
“I didn’t take it too seriously because he does like to find people to do different roles and last year there was the talk about Jack Nowell [Exeter wing] playing in the back row.
“I don’t know if Eddie is intending to do that with Ben but I would suggest that his best position is going to be openside flanker. However, if the England gurus, who are far more experienced than me, think like that then let them pick him at scrumhalf and we will take the money off the RFU!”
Diamond has never seen Curry play scrumhalf as the 21-year-old stopped operating in the backs for his school team when he reached Year Eight which makes a return to the position even tougher, although the club has fuelled debate by posting a picture of a No.9 Sale jersey with B. Curry on the back.
Diamond added: “If Eddie spoke to me and could give us some good reasons then we would have to think about it. But, if we thought Ben could challenge Faf de Klerk in his position we would be moving Ben because I play Luke and Sam James at centre and full back and Chris Ashton and Denny Solomona at wing and full back. I am happy to have hybrid players but I don’t know if at the top of the game a forward can become a back and we remember what happened when Bergamasco (Italy flanker) played scrumhalf. It didn’t make him look good at all.
“Until the squad is picked we won’t know how they are thinking and if he gets in then that will be fantastic but we don’t want him to be in as a mascot. I would be surprised if he got in as a scrumhalf and would be very interested to attend the training sessions. Ben is a really good lad who just wants to play every week and we have to manage his expectation on that.”