Tom Curry’s mum was reduced to tears when confronted by the sight of her son gushing blood from a wound on his forehead in England’s rout of France.
The gruesome image of Curry playing with his face and jersey covered in blood evoked memories of Three Lions hardman Terry Butcher, who was similarly soaked during a World Cup qualifier against Sweden in 1989.
At 20-years-old, Curry would not be born for another nine years when the famous photo of Butcher was taken and the Sale openside had to be told who the England defender was by forwards coach Steve Borthwick.
It took six stitches to patch Curry up in the 44-8 victory at Twickenham and he returned to the fray with the greatest harm suffered by his mum Susanne.
“My mum’s tears had dried up by the end I think! Mum was asking me on Tuesday night if my head was all right, but everything is fine,” Curry said.
“My mum’s been trying to get me to wear a scrum cap for 20 years. She’s definitely pushing for it now. Everyone was actually surprised how small the cut was given how much blood there was.
“I thought I was just sweating, then it came up on the big screens and the whole crowd went: ‘Oooh’. It wasn’t painful at all. It didn’t even swell up.
“Everyone said I had to go off for a head injury but it really didn’t hurt. I didn’t realise and I think I just head-butted the full-back.
“I’ve heard about Terry Butcher now. We spoke about him. But if I had been shown a picture I wouldn’t have known that was Terry Butcher. Now I’ve seen the photo, I know!”
Curry has been magnificent in England’s triumphant start to the Championship, producing two ferocious defensive shifts and proving effective as a carrier.
The nation’s long search to unearth a genuine openside is finally over and in typical fashion two have come along at once with rival Sam Underhill only absent from the squad because of an ankle injury.
To accelerate his development, Curry studies footage of greater players in the position in the search for tips while confident in his own strengths.
“I’m not a fan of just focussing on one person because obviously you’re your own person and have your different traits,” he said.
“Michael Hooper, David Pocock and Francois Louw is obviously up there. George Smith’s been a big one as well.
“I just look at everyone’s individual games, taking little bits and forming almost like Frankenstein – you take bits that you might enjoy and push away stuff that you don’t.
“So there’s definitely aspects that you can take but you’ve got to realise what’s good for you.”
England are assessing the fitness of loosehead prop Ellis Genge after he was forced to withdraw from training because of an ankle issue.