England flanker Tom Curry could develop into a player to match All Black great Richie McCaw, says forwards coach Matt Proudfoot.
|Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday 20 March Kick-off: 16:45 GMT|
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Curry, 22, has become one of England’s mainstays, winning 32 caps since making his Test debut in June 2017.
McCaw led New Zealand to two Rugby World Cup triumphs, winning 148 caps and three World Player of the Year awards during his career.
“He’s a special, special player,” Proudfoot told BBC Sport of Curry.
Asked about the back row’s qualities, Proudfoot continued: “His mindset for growth and improvement, his determination, his relentless training regime…how he takes onboard information, asks questions and makes sure that he adds the right thing to his game.
“When you see that in a player you know he will go a long, long way.
“If you look at the way Tom has improved in the last three or four years, if he just continues that growth, I think, in three, four years’ time, he could be another McCaw.”
Proudfoot revealed that, during his time on South Africa’s staff, he had targeted Curry as a key part of England’s team.
Curry made his second, third and fourth appearances for England during a three-Test tour of South Africa in 2018.
“In 2018 when England toured South Africa we highlighted him as one of the main threats in their team,” he remembered.
“We actually tried to get to him a little bit and tried to pressurise him.
“I think in the first or second Test he was man of the match. He was 19 or 20 at that stage. It just speaks volumes for his character.”
‘We won’t be happy to finish second’
Prop Ellis Genge says England can still take some pride from their Six Nations campaign if they beat Ireland in their final game on Saturday.
England’s title defence will come up short after defeats by Scotland and Wales, but, after beating France last weekend, they could still finish second in the table if results go their way.
“We won’t be happy to finish second, but as a group we have accepted how we started this competition now and parked that,” Genge told BBC Sport.
“If we beat France and Ireland, it is not a bad place to be.”
Genge also revealed that team-mate Ollie Lawrence was partly responsible for his stark peroxide-blonde hairstyle.
“I thought Ollie worked in Toni & Guy or had an apprenticeship there or something, because he was telling me everything and I listened,” Genge added.
“He cut my hair and it was absolutely abysmal, proper bad. I had the worst fade I had in my life.
“So I thought if I dyed it blonde, no-one would be able to see it.
“In the past I have dyed my hair blonde and it has gone ginger. So I got this peroxide, it said leave it on for about 20 minutes, I left it on for an hour.
“It did burn, but I quite like it weirdly.”