Tom Curry ruled out of Australia tour after suffering third concussion in six months

·3-min read
Tom Curry hurts his head - DAVE HUNT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Tom Curry hurts his head - DAVE HUNT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

England's hopes of levelling their series against Australia in their second Test in Brisbane have been dealt a major blow with the news that Tom Curry has been ruled out of the rest of the tour after suffering a third concussion in the last six months.

Curry was replaced at half-time of Saturday’s disappointing 30-28 defeat in Perth by Lewis Ludlam, having taken a blow to the head in the 14th minute when attempting to tackle Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi, who is now in contention to replace the Sale Sharks flanker along with Bath's Sam Underhill and Wasps' Jack Willis.

Telegraph Sport can reveal that the diagnosis was the third time this year that the flanker had suffered a concussion, triggering a decision from the England coaching staff to end his season prematurely despite the potential for him to feature later in the series.

Curry had made an impressive break in the first half that nearly produced a try for Joe Marchant, and given his role as a leadership figure in England's pack, his absence will be a significant setback for Eddie Jones, their head coach, with a victory at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium this weekend required to keep the tourists’ hopes alive.

Under new protocols issued by World Rugby, Curry would have been stood down for a minimum of 12 days, having failed his initial Head Injury Assessment [HIA]. However, despite potentially being available for what could be a third-Test decider in Sydney should he clear the return-to-play protocols, a decision was taken on welfare grounds to send him home for the remainder of the tour.

Announcing Curry's return home, the Rugby Football Union said: "It has been agreed that in the interest of player welfare and recovery, he will take no further part in the tour and return home for continuing assessment and ongoing management.

"He has travelled to Brisbane with the squad and will fly to England later this week."

The decision to stand Curry down from the rest of tour comes after he also suffered a concussion earlier in the season playing for England against Wales in the Six Nations, when Curry failed a HIA at half-time and was replaced by Sam Simmonds.

World Rugby's new stand-down requirements for concussions, which came into effect on July 1, require any players who fail a HIA to be stood down for 12 days, ruling Curry out of the second Test and giving him little time to prepare for the third Test in Sydney.

Curry's withdrawal leaves the No 7 shirt vacant, with a number of candidates in the frame to replace the Sale Sharks player.

Ludlam impressed off the bench in replacing Curry in Perth with both his carrying and defensive work, continuing his good form from the end of the season, while Underhill offers more experience and defensive impact and Willis brings an unrivalled breakdown menace.

England confirmed yesterday that they will not call up a replacement for Curry, meaning Jones will have to select from the trio who are already at his disposal when he names his side for the second Test on Thursday morning.

The most recent Test starter for England out of that trio was Underhill, who played 64 minutes at openside flanker against France at the end of the Six Nations.

Curry’s absence also makes it increasingly unlikely that Jones will shake up his pack and return captain Courtney Lawes to the second row, despite England struggling to contend with the Wallabies at the breakdown in Brisbane.

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