Why Currie can be red hot for England

Sean O'Loughlin with Ben Currie in Melbourne. Picture: NRL Photos
Sean O'Loughlin with Ben Currie in Melbourne. Picture: NRL Photos

Sean O’Loughlin believes Ben Currie will sparkle under the spotlight of the Test stage.

Wiganer Currie made his England debut last Friday after being drafted in to replace sick Alex Walmsley.

The 23-year-old had a solid outing from the bench, and is primed for a bigger role against Lebanon this Saturday after being named in the second-row in placed of injured Sam Burgess.

O’Loughlin believes former Golborne Parkside amateur Currie has the potential to make a dent on the World Cup.

The England skipper said: “I remember when he came on the scene at Warrington.

“He was obviously a good player, but you do see some kids play well and show glimpses of what they can do, and then they drop off.

“He wasn’t one of them - he hit the ground running and he has just kept on improving year after year.

“I know he had a tough time last season with injury, but he’s shown what he can do at Super League level and now this is the next step for him.

“Often the next step brings the best out of quality players.”

Wolves ace Currie suffered a serious knee injury playing against hometown club Wigan in 2016 - and made his return against the same opposition earlier in the summer.

“When I did my injury, it showed how good rugby league is - I got messages from fans at every club,” he said.

“I’m just glad the England coaches showed faith in me and hopefully I can repay that.”

He enjoyed lining up alongside Wigan’s John Bateman, having duelled against him several times over the years.

Currie recalls: “I used to play against John in the Lancashire-Yorkshire junior games – I didn’t know him personally at that stage, but it was a battle to see who could get out on top.

“It pushed us both on, it’s good to get alongside him.”

The pair previously played together for England academy on a tour Down Under, which featured two other players now in Wayne Bennett’s squad – St Helens centre Mark Percival and Wigan halfback George Williams.

Currie was also at Wigan’s scholarship with Williams before leaving to join the Wolves when he was 16.

O’Loughlin, meanwhile, says there is no secret to what they want to improve on before Saturday’s game in Sydney.

“I think we matched Australia reasonably well all over the park, but a few errors cost you in big games,” he added.

“We coughed a bit of ball up in the first half and that’s what we need to get out of us.”