Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Youngs senses a missed opportunity

Ben Youngs admitted England's 26-16 defeat to New Zealand on Saturday was a missed opportunity to claim the biggest scalp in world rugby.

England produced a rousing second-half performance but they were not clinical enough to turn pressure into points - and Martin Johnson's men paid the price. The All Blacks raced into a 14-0 lead after 20 minutes and then withstood England's comeback, sparked by a first Test try for Dylan Hartley, to seal the victory.

"The summer tour to Australia made us realise what a good bunch of players we are. We want to challenge ourselves against the best and now we know we are capable of mixing it with them," said Youngs.

"Every person in this squad believed we could win that game and I hope that showed. It was an opportunity missed.

"It was very hard to take. Everyone's head was down in the dressing room afterwards and you could hear a pin drop.

"We could have won that game because we put them under some real pressure. I can think of a couple of good opportunities that we missed off the top of my head, which was frustrating.

"But it is encouraging that we created chances and we need to keep believing ourselves because that was a missed chance."

Hartley warned Australia to expect an England backlash at Twickenham next Saturday. The Northampton captain missed the summer tour to Australia with a knee injury but in his absence England responded from a similar situation, after a slow start in the first Test cost them dear.

England bounced back to win 21-20 in Sydney and Hartley is confident they can do so again - particularly on the back of another strong scrummaging performance.

"Bring on Australia!" he said. "Winning is so important to this team. A lot of people from the outside will say 'you played well in the second half and you played some good rugby'. But that isn't good enough for us."


From Belfast Telegraph