Youngs warns against complacency in Scot test
March 8, 2011
England scrum-half Ben Youngs is wary of the Scotland threat © PA Photos
Ben Youngs has issued a predictably cautious assessment of Scotland's hopes of ending England's Grand Slam dream, warning team-mates against complacency in Sunday's Calcutta Cup clash.
England need two more wins to complete their first Six Nations Grand Slam in eight years after beating Wales, Italy and France.
The most recent of those triumphs was considered the most difficult on paper but scrum-half Youngs is well aware of the potential of an almighty fall if England think they can now afford to take Scotland lightly, despite their poor form.
Scotland's bullish pre-tournament talk has been wiped away by defeats to France, Wales and Ireland. The challenge could hardly be greater for Andy Robinson's men given that Scotland have not tasted victory at the home of English rugby since 1983, but Leicester scrum-half Youngs says their autumn win over South Africa is a clear sign of what dangerous opponents they will be.
Youngs told Sky Sports News: "They are very dangerous, they beat South Africa in the autumn and we got beaten by them. Every game in the Six Nations is very tough and Scotland v England and the rivalry and everything that comes with it brings a bit of spice, and it should be great to watch and to play in it is a great honour and it is the sort of game you want to play in.
"A Slam is in sight but at the same time Scotland lie ahead of us. We are playing very well, we are in a good position but we know what challenges lie ahead. But we have enough talent to overcome the obstacles ahead of us, it's about performing at the weekend and having the right attitude towards the game."
Youngs spoke of his frustration at his own performance during England's 17-9 win over France just over a week ago, but believes it is that desire for improvement that has brought about the upturn in the recent fortunes of Martin Johnson's men.
"You have to keep working hard as an individual, there are areas I need to work on and keep improving and that's the main thing. No-one is every happy," he said.
"Chris (Ashton) scored four tries against Italy and there are things he was not happy with, and the things about this squad is everyone is moving in the right direction and everyone is putting the effort in to make sure we keep moving forward and keep up our momentum."
England have brought Northampton lock Courtney Lawes and Leicester flanker Tom Croft into camp for Sunday's game after the duo recently returned from knee and shoulder injuries respectively, while fly-half Toby Flood is receiving treatment on the Achilles injury he picked up against France with an update on his fitness set to be revealed tomorrow.
Should England go on to beat Scotland and Ireland and secure a clean sweep it would set them up perfectly for a meaningful assault on the World Cup in New Zealand later this year. Indeed, when England last secured a Grand Slam in 2003, with team manager Johnson as skipper, they went on to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy later in the year. But Youngs says no thought has been given to the global showpiece as yet.
He said: "We haven't spoken about the World Cup, but if we manage to achieve our goal of a Grand Slam it will give us momentum towards the World Cup. But there is a long way to go between then and now and hopefully we can put in a good performance and get past Scotland."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
When the Lions toured South Africa in 1974, some thought rugby could break down barriers. But John Taylor refused to make the trip altogether
"I think in a couple of seasons London Irish can be a genuine force and contenders for the Premiership." Tom Hamilton talks to Brian Smith
"I hate this talk of survival, we are going there to compete." Tom Hamilton talks to London Welsh's Justin Burnell and Matt Corker
The latest Week in Pictures takes in Madagascar, Nick Cummins and all the latest photographs from Super Rugby