Youngs knows points mean prizes
Ben Youngs admits the renewal of England's assault on the RBS 6 Nations title has been tarnished by the regret of failing to establish a commanding position over their rivals.
A 25-13 victory over Scotland has lifted Stuart Lancaster's men to the summit of the table heading into the final weekend and it will almost certainly require points difference to decide the 2015 Championship.
England are odds-on favourites to win a first piece of major silverware of Lancaster's reign, with Ireland and Wales also joining the hunt during a climatic final day consisting of three staggered kick-offs.
The path to a prized Six Nations title in World Cup year is blocked by France, who are Saturday's visitors to Twickenham in the concluding match of the tournament, but Youngs fears the wastefulness against Scotland could yet prove costly.
Time and again the Scots' defence was shredded only for poor decision making at the crucial moment to ensure as many as six tries were butchered.
"It's disappointing because the Championship will come down to points difference and we missed a few out there. We don't want that to come back and bite us," Youngs said.
"We got what we wanted in terms of the result and while the performance was great in parts, the scoreline should have been better than it was. We're pleased with the breaks, but we weren't as clinical as we'd like to be."
Anthony Watson and Mike Brown had tries chalked off in each half for forward passes in the build up, while an early attacking five-metre scrum was penalised for a technical offence by Joe Marler moments after the Scots had been shoved backwards.
An array of line breaks were wasted, the most glaring example coming just seconds into the match when centre Luther Burrell failed to find a support runner with the whitewash beckoning.
Jonathan Joseph crossed shortly after, with George Ford and Jack Nowell touching down after the break, but they could have been out of sight by half time only to find themselves trailing 13-10 to the Six Nations' bottom placed team.
England enter the final weekend with a points difference of plus four over Ireland and plus 25 over Wales - the Celts travel to Edinburgh and Rome respectively - yet should have should have a far healthier cushion.
A nerve-jangling final day awaits and the Red Rose will know the target they must achieve against the unpredictable French, even if Youngs insists it is better if his team-mates are not made aware of other scores elsewhere.
"The last thing you want to do in a Test match is go out there and try to chase the game and start getting loose," the man of the match said.
"All of a sudden you're the ones who are 14-0 down. It's probably better that we try to secure the win and messages will come on whether to kick for the corner or things like that.
"The important thing is that we don't change what we do. We have to back the gameplan that we come out with will be good enough to create enough chances to score tries.
"The game plan we had against Scotland in being direct worked very well, but we weren't able to take the chances.
"France will defend differently, but if we stick to the plan we should get opportunities. It's when you go out as individuals that you find yourself in trouble.
"France are a good side and they won't roll over - they beat us last year at their place - and they won't want to do us any favours."
Youngs was involved when England were last crowned Six Nations champions in 2011 despite losing 24-8 in Dublin on a final day of muted celebrations.
"It would mean a lot to win it at Twickenham and that's the key motivation for us this week. To get on the podium at Twickenham would be amazing," he said.
"There's a lot that can happen between now and then, but if we're more clinical there's no reason why we can't take the game to France."