Eddie Jones believes “Kamikaze kids” Tom Curry and Sam Underhill can make the difference for England at the World Cup.
Head coach Jones hopes to field twin openside flanker threats Curry and Underhill in the same back row on Saturday when England host Ireland at Twickenham.
The wily Australian boss wanted to pair up the natural scavengers in the first warm-up match against Wales, but injuries derailed that plan.
Jones believes the ball-hunting duo could hand England a World Cup edge if the Japan tournament revolves around the breakdown and cannot wait to see the destructive pair in action.
“They are like the Kamikaze kids those two,” said Jones.
“Playing two guys who are pretty good at the breakdown might give us an advantage in that area.
“They hit everything. They hit everything that moves. But off the pitch they’re nice public schoolboys.
“We wanted to try it in the first game against Wales. That was the first time they were available to do it.
“In Curry, what I see on the training pitch is a guy who is progressing rapidly.
“Physically, for a 20-year-old, he is incredible. I haven’t seen a player like him.
“He’s strong, fast, he’s got aggressive attitude and he wants to learn. He’s going to get better and better every day.
“If it’s going to be two people over the ball every breakdown we want to be able to do the same thing.
“We’re asking, ‘Is this a strategic (refereeing) move by World Rugby for the World Cup?’ And the answer is, ‘We don’t know’.
“We’ll just have to adapt and find out.
“What we want to be able to do is pick teams who can cope with this.
“You’ve just got to see what’s happening in the game, the number of kicks.
“Why are people kicking the ball more? Because you can’t get fast ball.
“So you’ve got to work out why you can’t get fast ball.”
Bath flanker Underhill accepted Jones’ “Kamikaze kid” nickname for the clear compliment intended, hoping he and Curry can emulate the kind of impact David Pocock and Michael Hooper can boast for Australia.
“I resent being thrown into that category with Tom – he has injured far more people in training than I have, he’s a nutter!” joked Underhill.
“I am glad I am on the same side of him for training.
“But a healthy disregard for your own well-being is pretty essential if you are playing rugby in general, so I will take that as a compliment.
“Australia and Wales are big into it too, Ireland have done it with Dan Leavy and Josh Van Der Flier.
“You are getting to a point where you are not really a six or seven, you’re a flanker, a back-rower.
“I have played against teams with two sevens and it is just a different dynamic and a different sort of contest.”
Sale grafter Curry admitted he cannot wait to pair up with Underhill in the same England back row.
“It’s really exciting, whenever you get to play with someone that talented is pretty exciting anyway, let alone at six and seven,” said Curry.
“Obviously it’s new, we’ve been practising it for a few weeks in training, it has been going well.
“We have to make sure we can learn and adapt in the game as well because obviously it is the first time – get to know each other and see how each other works.”
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