Sale star Tom Curry insists he is not feeling the burden of pressure ahead of the Rugby World Cup despite being recognised for his performances for club and country.
The 21-year-old flanker has defied his age to become a powerhouse for Steve Diamond’s side in the Gallagher Premiership as they sealed Champions Cup rugby next season.
It was his blockbuster displays on the international stage for England that really made the world stand up and take notice, though, helping Eddie Jones’ men finish second in the Six Nations.
And with so much hype surrounding him, you could forgive Curry for feeling overwhelmed – but the man himself maintains the weight of expectation is not a concern with Japan on the horizon.
“I’m not feeling the pressure,” said Curry, winner of this year’s Land Rover Discovery of the Season award. “As long as you’re working hard and putting the work in, everything else takes care of itself.
“The pressure only starts to come and affect you once you start to think about things that are happening in the future, things that you can’t affect and are out of your control.
“If I get called into the England camp I’m just going to make sure that I give everything and put my hand up as much as possible. I just want to work hard as whatever happens, happens.
“My first memory of the World Cup was when my dad jumped up and hit his head on a light when he was celebrating England winning in 2003, while I also have some memories of 2007.
“But it would be massive if I get to play for England at a World Cup. Representing your country no matter where or when it is, or what relevance, is a huge honour.
“I treat every match exactly the same. The World Cup is an amazing, prestigious occasion but whenever you represent your country it’s extremely special.”
Curry’s immediate focus is now on earning his place on the plane to Japan, where he will attempt to repeat his Six Nations heroics for England at the World Cup from September.
But he is also licking his lips at the prospect of going up against the best club sides in Europe next season when Sale embark on their Champions Cup campaign.
Challenge Cup semi-finalists last season, Sale will face Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors and La Rochelle in Pool 2 – and Curry believes it’s a chance to show that the club is going in the right direction.
“I’m really excited for the Champions Cup next season,” added the Land Rover ambassador. “We’re a side that has a lot of ambition from the players, coaches and everyone else, so it’s absolutely massive.
“We want to be competing at the very top level. We’re not trying to emulate Exeter, we’re trying to create our own success and moving forward it’s huge that we do well.
“We are all very grounded and we know that there is a lot of hard work to be done.
“Last season there were a couple of ups but too many downs and we need to make sure we fix that as a team, so we’re very focused on what needs to be achieved.
“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and I think the key will be consistency as if we can be more consistent then we have shown we are capable of beating anyone.”
- Tom Curry is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover has a heritage in rugby at all levels of the game. Follow @LandRoverRugby