Steve Borthwick defends Tom Curry selection for England summer tour after Sale warning

Back in action: Tom Curry has played only 34 minutes for Sale since undergoing hip surgery in November (Getty Images)
Back in action: Tom Curry has played only 34 minutes for Sale since undergoing hip surgery in November (Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick insists England are taking no chances with Tom Curry, downplaying Sale’s warnings over the fit-again flanker.

England have picked Curry for their summer tour of Japan and New Zealand, despite the back-rower playing just 34 minutes since major hip surgery.

Sale rugby director Alex Sanderson had warned that England could risk shortening Curry’s career should the 25-year-old go on tour this summer.

But Red Rose boss Borthwick has insisted that England made all the relevant medical and fitness checks on Curry – and that Sale lodged no concerns on the flanker’s selection.

Curry proved his fitness in a second-half cameo in Sale’s 31-23 Premiership semi-final defeat at Bath on June 1, and has made England’s 36-man tour squad along with twin brother Ben.

“Tom is a world-class player, and anybody who watched the semi-final when he came off the bench will have seen the impact he had,” said Borthwick.

“The respective medical and strength and conditioning with Sale and England have been liaising around Tom for a long period, as you would expect.

“Every report I have says Tom is in fantastic physical condition, and I saw last week how energised he was.

“Most important was the conversation I had with Tom. We spoke about this series and this is a player who is desperate to be a part of this England team, and wants to play in these games.

“Because of that, and the fact that he’s world-class, it was a very straightforward selection decision.”

England will fly to Japan on Wednesday, before facing the Brave Blossoms in Tokyo on June 22, when Borthwick will take on his coaching mentor and Red Rose predecessor Eddie Jones.

Borthwick’s men will then head on to New Zealand for two Tests against the All Blacks, in Dunedin on July 6 and Auckland on July 13.

Asked if Sale had raised any concerns on Curry, Borthwick continued: “No, the medical teams have been very supportive.

“And the medical team at Sale have given us clear indications throughout the rehab, and have been clear that we have been liaising and understanding exactly where Tom is at.

“We understood many weeks ago that he was looking good to be able to finish the season at his club, and then come and be part of the England squad this summer.

“Player welfare is vital to us and every report I’ve got from the people who understand the injuries and the knocks far better than I do tell me that Tom is in fantastic condition.”