England have to match Ireland’s ‘niggly stuff’ in Six Nations, warns Ben Youngs

first_imgRugby union news Six Nations 2019 “They’ve got a huge number of guys who can jackal and get over the ball and they’ve got a defensive system that puts you under pressure. It’s a huge strength of theirs. It’s caused us problems and it’s no surprise we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the breakdown.”Eddie Jones will announce his starting lineup on Thursday with Mike Brown hoping for a recall as England seek to defuse the threat of Johnny Sexton’s and Conor Murray’s tactical kicking. “Mike Brown’s ability to operate under the high ball is probably the best in the country,” Youngs said.“Dealing with the high ball is still a phenomenal strength of his game. You suspect Ireland will certainly test us with contestable kicks and use that as weapon as they have done in the past. Seeing someone like Mike back involved in the squad is terrific, because he adds a huge amount of experience in that area.”Youngs said it will not bother him unduly whether his Leicester teammate George Ford or Owen Farrell is standing at first receiver as England finalise their midfield in the absence of the injured Ben Te’o.“Losing someone of Benny’s qualities is never ideal this close to the game but what we do have are a lot of great players to cover centre,” Youngs said. “With Benny missing out it opens the door for others. We just have to adapt and we’ll be able to do that.“The expectation is that Ireland are the best team in the northern hemisphere but the Six Nations is such a competitive tournament. That’s why everyone gets so engrossed in it, because you never really know.” Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Since you’re here… Six Nations could be tougher to win this year than the Rugby World Cup | Robert Kitson Read more Ireland rugby union team Six Nationscenter_img Share via Email Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger England rugby union team Topics Reuse this content Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook England’s players believe they have no option but to match Ireland’s “fighting” qualities if they want to make a fast start to the Six Nations. They have not beaten their hosts or even scored a try in their last three visits to Dublin and the scrum-half Ben Youngs has pinpointed the breakdown and aerial contest as crucial areas on Saturday.“With Irish teams you talk about the passion but really they just love the fight,” said Youngs, set to win his 81st cap. “When I say the fight I am talking about the breakdown, the aerial stuff, the bits of the game that are no talent required, niggly stuff. They are just mad for those little fights.“I am not talking physical fights. With club or country, when we’ve come unstuck, it’s been around the breakdown. They’ve just been able to deal with it better, make it slower and frustrate you.last_img read more