England U20s captain Ben Curry says it is a dream come true to lead his country at the World Rugby U20 Championship.
Curry and his team mates open their Pool B campaign against Argentina in Narbonne on Wednesday (KO 5.30pm BST).
The Sale Sharks flanker will skipper an England U20s side for the first time, also winning his fourth cap and first since last season’s Six Nations campaign.
“As a young child this is something you dream of, especially captaining your country at an international tournament,” he said.
Since winning his last cap for England, Curry missed the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia as he was part of the senior tour to Argentina and he is relishing pulling on the national shirt again.
Curry says England are determined to be successful in the tournament, having lost in the final against New Zealand last year, but added their focus is firmly on Wednesday’s challenge.
“Obviously getting so close to winning something like that, especially with the history England have in this tournament and the expectation on us, meant that really hurt, so we are definitely hoping to go one step further this year,” he said.
“However, we’re just focused on our first game on Wednesday against Argentina and will take it one game at a time following that.”
England U20s have reached the final in five consecutive years, winning three (2013, 2014, 2016) and since 2008 they have reached eight out of the ten finals, including last year in Georgia.
Following Wednesday’s fixture they face Italy (3 June, 3.30 KO BST) in Perpignan and Scotland (7 June, 8pm KO BST) in Pool B at Beziers' Stade de la Méditerranée.
Narbonne and Perpignan will host the semi-finals and ranking play-offs on 12 June, with Beziers hosting all finals day matches on 17 June across two pitches.
And head coach Steve Bates, believes Curry will be a fine choice as captain.
“Ben Curry’s experience of being a Premiership forward is invaluable and he is a very competitive, professional athlete, as well as being a fine player, which makes him a great choice as captain,” said Bates.
Looking ahead to Wednesday's challenge, Bates added: “We know the importance of winning every game in this tournament, and we need to go out on Wednesday with a real intent to get this campaign off to a positive start.
“We have an excellent squad of players, every position is competitive and this is an exciting England team that I’m looking forward to seeing perform on the world stage."