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Regret over Grand Slam shows rapid progress – Youngs

19 March 2012

  • Ben Youngs says regret over not getting Grand Slam shows progress
  • I’m a competitive sportsman and I want to start every game says Leicester man
England players engulf replacement Ben Youngs after his try against Ireland at Twickenham

Photo: Getty Images

Looking back over England’s RBS 6 Nations campaign, Ben Youngs says there is a hint of regret they are not 2012 Grand Slam champions and that it is a testament to how quickly the team has developed.

England destroyed Ireland’s scrum at Twickenham in the tournament finale, with their two tries resulting directly from total dominance at the set piece in the second half.

The only defeat for Stuart Lancaster’s side came after replacement Scott Williams’ classy intervention gave Wales the lead for the first time in the game in the 75th minute, securing a 19-12 win on route to their third Grand Slam in eight years.

That left Leicester Tigers scrum half Youngs wondering what might have been for a team that was only born in Leeds eight weeks ago. And given the impressive showings from a host of new players, the 22-year-old believes there is an exciting future ahead.

"It’s been a hell of a journey, it’s been fantastic," he said. "Leeds seems a long time ago and to be where we were as a new group and to be here now is amazing. We could’ve won a Grand Slam but that’s in the past now. Congratulations to Wales, they’ve been the best side throughout the tournament but it’s been important for this team, in this tournament, to focus on ourselves.

"There are some really talented guys come through – Owen Farrell has shown what he can do, Brad Barritt has been outstanding in every game, Benny Morgan and Crofty is back to his best – it’s been a really enjoyable time."

Try scorer Ben Youngs (L) with his England and Leicester Tigers collegues

Photo: Getty Images

Youngs came off the bench to clinch the game with a fine opportunist try in the 73rd minute, showing pace and awareness to dart over after England’s pack won yet another penalty at the scrum.

Northampton Saints scrum half Lee Dickson has been Lancaster’s starting No.9 for the last three games but Youngs said he is not content with a place on the bench given all competitive sportsmen want to play from the start. And the 22-cap man, who came on in the 48th minute, added his introduction was aided by the superb platform provided by the pack, who he credits as the deciding factor for second successive week.

Youngs said: "I’m a competitive sportsman and I want to start every game. Dicko deserves his go, he’s played very well and I’ve had to patient and I was delighted to get on for a good amount of time today.

"The pack were outstanding, they set the platform for the game against France last week with the scrum and lineout dominance and they did it again. Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Alex Corbisiero, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft again were outstanding in tricky conditions.

"We knew that if we got things right, eventually they would crack. Stuart said before we left ‘we’ve got to make sure they crack before us’ and we knew that they would. We got it right but I remember coming off a beating last year against them. It’s a funny old thing the Six Nations."