Joe Schmidt, when speaking to the media on Thursday during Ireland’s team announcement, singled out praise for England’s Tom Curry who he expects could have a big impact on proceedings on Saturday.
Curry, who now has five caps at senior international level and made his debut as an 18-year-old in the summer of 2017, will start at openside for England at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow in what has long been a problem position for Eddie Jones throughout his tenure.
Sam Underhill’s injury has opened the door for Curry to stake a claim for the starting seven slot throughout 2019 and Schmidt has been impressed with the 20-year-old’s form of late.
“Tom Curry has gone really well, he’s a young kid but we’ve had some young kids come in in the last Six Nations and do really well,” Schmidt said at yesterday’s press conference.
“When those young players get that vote of confidence they often respond and repay it.”
The Ireland head coach also spoke about George Kruis’ inclusion at lock and how the Saracens man will pose a threat to their lineout.
“George Kruis is there [at lock] because he a real intellect at the lineout and so that’s a real challenge for our lineout.
“For Courtney Lawes to be forced to the bench that’s a big vote of confidence for George Kruis.”
What will also be a worry for Schmidt is the impact England have off the bench with the likes of Courtney Lawes and Nathan Hughes lying in wait to continue the powerful and direct performance expected from Jones’ men.
“Mako [Vunipola] coming around the corner, followed by Billy Vunipola, Manu [Tuilagi] taking a hard line, then Hughes pops off the bench for a stroll.
“That’s some real firepower and we’re going to have to be up for that challenge.”