Jones hoping ‘Kamikaze kids’ Curry and Underhill will be fit to face Ireland

The two forwards have battling injuries.

By Press Association Published: 22 August 2019 - 2.16pm


Rugby Union

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones hopes “Kamikaze kids” Tom Curry and Sam Underhill come through training unscathed to pair up against Ireland for the first time in the same England back row.

Natural openside flankers Curry and Underhill were slated to start together in the same loose-forward unit in England’s first World Cup warm-up match against Wales.

But injuries derailed that plan, and this week both men have had to prove their fitness after further niggles – leaving head coach Jones hoping the duo would not pick up any new problems before Saturday’s Twickenham clash.

Tom Curry
Tom Curry has been battling injury (Adam Davy/PA)

“They’ve still got to get through another training session,” said Jones.

“They are like the Kamikaze kids those two.

“Playing two guys who are pretty good at the breakdown might give us an advantage in that area.”

George Ford and Owen Farrell will start a Test together for the first time in 14 months against Ireland, with Jones keen to explore attacking variety.

Sam Underhill
Sam Underhill is also set to start against Ireland if fit (Adam Davy/PA)

Ford continues at fly-half following the 13-6 loss in Wales, with captain Farrell starting at inside centre, alongside Manu Tuilagi at 13.

Former age-group international pairing Ford and Farrell last started a Test at 10 and 12 when England lost 23-12 to South Africa in Bloemfontein on June 16, 2018.

Jones insisted selecting the duo together will help England bolster their attacking arsenal with the World Cup fast approaching.

“They've still got to get through another training session. They are like the Kamikaze kids those two.”
- Eddie Jones on Tom Curry and Sam Underhill

The Australian previously pledged to play “fish and chip”, classic English rugby – but now maintains only a full offensive menu will push the team to their peak.

“Sometimes the opposition team doesn’t allow you to put the batter on the fish, so you’ve got to play a different way,” said Jones.

“And then you’ve got to fry the fish, or grill the fish.

“So you’ve got to find a different way of doing it.

“That’s all part of the challenge going forward, being adaptable, looking at what’s happening in the game and where we can take it.

“But we’re taking the right steps forward.”

He added: “We’re just trying a different strategic approach to the game.

“It’s about finding out what sort of tactical approaches we can employ and use in Japan, because we’re going to need a few.

Owen Farrell and George Ford
Owen Farrell and George Ford are set to link up again for England (Joe Giddens/PA)

“We want to see a passing game.

“We played a quite tight game against Wales. Last week there were zero line breaks.

“So we feel like this game we probably need to pass a bit more, and with George at 10 and Owen at 12 we think we can do that.

“Again you’ve got to look at the context of the game, we’d like to win against Ireland but we’re preparing for the World Cup, so it just gives us another selection strategy going forward.”

Ben Te’o
Ben Te’o has joined French side Toulon (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Former Worcester centre Ben Te’o has signed for Toulon, having been omitted from England’s ranks after a reported row with Mike Brown.

England and Jones had refused to confirm that issue between Te’o and Brown, but the head coach still jettisoned both players.

Jones insisted he remains unfazed by Te’o’s decision to join Toulon, a move that rules him out of any World Cup replacement role, and hinted the ex-rugby league star was not on his standby list anyway.

“Everyone makes a choice, Ben’s made his choice,” said Jones.

“So we wish him all the best and we just get on with it.

“We got some word that was about to happen.

“Everyone makes their choice, we were happy for him to make his choice.”

Asked if Te’o’s decision caused a standby list rethink, Jones said: “Not really, no. We’ve got that in place.”