Warrington Wolves’ Ben Currie praises Sam Burgess influence after receiving England call-up

Drew Darbyshire
Ben Currie Sam Burgess Warrington Wolves Alamy

Ben Currie (left) in action for Warrington Wolves with head coach Sam Burgess (right)

Warrington Wolves stalwart Ben Currie has excelled in his preferred role of 13 role this season after a show of faith from head coach Sam Burgess.

And the 29-year-old has retained his place in the England national team on the back of his impressive performances at loose forward for the Wire, being called-up by Shaun Wane for Saturday’s Test match against France in Toulouse.

Currie is averaging almost 32 tackles per game in 2024 and has utilised his ball-playing ability as part of Warrington’s influential spine.

The England international, who has previously represented Ireland via his heritage, has praised his Warrington coach Burgess for his upturn in form.

“I grew up as a 13, it’s something I always wanted to do,” Currie told Love Rugby League. “The dream was to always be a 13 and a 13 for your country so, if that happens, I’ll be over the moon.

“Obviously the game changed as I came through and the back-row suited me more, but the game is kind of changing back a little bit, the 13 is getting a little bit more involved with a bit more ball-playing so I’m really enjoying it.

“I’ve been hinting for a couple of years to try and get back there (at loose forward), and Sam finally took the chance this year and hopefully it’s paying off.

“Obviously I played with him (Burgess) in the 2017 World Cup so it’s finding the right balance with your coach and player but he’s nailed it down to a T.

“He has surrounded himself with good coaching staff as well and he’s probably one of the best man managers I’ve ever seen so he gets people wanting to play for him.

“We’ve had a bit of blip over the last couple of weeks, obviously we got back to winning ways over the weekend (against Hull) but you can see he has really got people playing for him.”

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Ben Currie explains why he prefers loose forward role

Currie, a former Golborne Parkside junior, came through the ranks at Warrington as a loose forward but has played the majority of his career as a back-rower until a recent switch to his preferred position, and he has even played a fair bit at centre for club and country.

Explaining why he prefers to play loose forward, Currie said: “I just feel you control more of what happens. In the back-row sometimes you are kind of waiting a bit for the ball to come to you whereas at 13 you are kind of involved from the off.

“Obviously it’s tougher in defence, it’s non-stop tackle after tackle but it gets you in the game and gets you involved instead of sometimes letting the game pass you by.

“I pride myself on my fitness. Not many people can do full games or big minutes through the middle so I pride myself on that and hopefully I can keep building on it.”

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Currie has been in camp with England this week, with the team flying out to the south of France on Friday morning ahead of Saturday’s mid-season Test against Laurent Frayssinous’ side.

Although he would love the opportunity to play at 13 for England, Currie insists he is happy to play anywhere for his country.

He added: “I’ve a little chat with Waney, we’re undecided yet on where we’re going to play but when we start training today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday) I’m sure we’ll get the gist of it and find out. Either way I’ll put my hand up to play, I’ve played centre before, I’ve filled in at half, I’ll play anywhere for England, so we’ll see what happens.

“I’d love to tie a certain position down for international but having the versatility I’ve got can get you in squads for major tournaments so I’m happy either way. I’m looking forward to training to see where I end up playing.

“It’s always a tough trip flying over there and playing in France. The squad they’ve put out seems to be very strong so it should be a close game, I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got a few debutants in the squad and a few younger boys but there’s a lot of talent knocking around so it’s going to be a good game.”

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