Youngs wants World Cup standard


Published: Sunday 8th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Ben Youngs has challenged England to set the World Cup standard in their last two competitive Twickenham fixtures before hosting the autumn’s global showdown.

England host Scotland and France to close their RBS 6 Nations campaign, with Stuart Lancaster’s men desperate to atone for the 19-9 Dublin defeat to Ireland.

Leicester scrum-half Youngs believes England can still fire a World Cup salvo, even though losing to Ireland surrendered any Grand Slam hopes.

Youngs revealed All Black and 2011 World Cup winner Brad Thorn – now a Leicester team-mate – told the 25-year-old not to fear any Six Nations disappointment will creep into the tilt towards the Webb Ellis Cup.

“I spoke to Brad Thorn and New Zealand lost to Australia in the Tri Nations in 2011 but no-one remembers that,” said Youngs.

“He told me not to beat myself up too much. You haven’t won the Grand Slam but the title is still up for grabs. He had been there in 2011.

“We are disappointed not to get the result but we will be delighted if we were to win the championship because it is a very hard thing to win.

“It is really important (to finish the Six Nations strongly). And it is not too dissimilar to how it was coming into Samoa and Australia after losing our first two games in the autumn.

“Winning those two games gave us a lift, so that meant we were in a really good head space at the start of the Six Nations.”

England launched their Six Nations campaign in style with 21-16 victory in Wales, but defeat to Ireland leaves Lancaster’s side hoping results elsewhere swing in their favour.

Ireland edged to the title on points difference last year and currently remain on course for a Grand Slam, with trips to Wales and Scotland lying ahead.

Youngs insists England have not given up hope on stealing the Six Nations crown, but did admit the Ireland loss is “a blow”.

“We need to get the result now, as well as the performance, get back to the levels of the second-half in Wales,” said Youngs, ahead of hosting Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday.

“That means playing on the front foot, playing English rugby, being powerful, getting over the top of teams, being good at the breakdown, beating teams round the corner and being really direct.

“We have got to make sure we finish like that and give ourselves a real good platform going into our summer camp.

“It is a blow (losing to Ireland). You win that game and you’ve got two games at home.

“You’ve got real good momentum and your confidence is great.

“It’s a real dampener when it doesn’t work out but it’s a good test of character to see how you react to it. We can go either one way or the other.

“The way we’ve got to continue to see it is that we’re still very much in this championship.

“Chris (Robshaw) spoke really well after the game. He said the championship’s not over, that last year it came down to points and to make sure we get our game plan sorted.”

Published: Sunday 8th March 2015 by The News Editor

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