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Youngs praise for O'Connor

England star Ben Youngs has revealed how his man-of-the-match display against Australia on Saturday was inspired by a former Wallaby.

Youngs was the spark for England's best performance of Martin Johnson's regime and it was his piece of instinctive magic which created Chris Ashton's 100-metre try.

The 21-year-old from Leicester was humble about his achievement afterwards and directed all the credit towards Matt O'Connor, the Tigers' Australian backs coach, saying: "Matt has had a massive influence on my career. The way he plays and his philosophy on the game, I can't thank him enough."

He added: "I certainly wouldn't be where I am as a player, and playing for England, if it wasn't for him. Those parts of my game, where it is 50-50 but you take a risk, are down to him."

Youngs had the audacity to dummy a clearance kick from behind his own line after England had won a key turnover before launching a thrilling counter-attack. Courtney Lawes then drew two defenders and slipped the pass for Ashton to scorch home and score one of the great Twickenham tries.

World Cup-winning scrum-half Matt Dawson said no England scrum-half of the last 50 years would have attempted what Youngs pulled off.

"That's very kind of him," Youngs added. "Sometimes in rugby your instincts just take over. I saw the gap and went for it.

"The coaches back you 100% which makes you more confident knowing you can try things. When you think you have seen something you have just got to go.

"If I had been caught and dragged over I'd have looked like a right idiot!

"I have probably tried it a few times at Leicester and it hasn't paid off, and that has probably taught me when to do it."


From Belfast Telegraph