Sunday Mirror


Jones hails cen­tu­rion Youngs’ ‘mas­sive achieve­ment’ as Eng­land snatch sen­sa­tional cham­pi­onship glory

- From NEIL SQUIRES at the Sta­dio Olimpico

CEN­TU­RION Ben Youngs de­liv­ered a golden dou­ble in Rome to in­spire Eng­land to a third Six Na­tions ti­tle in five years.

Two top-class tries from the Eng­land scrum-half ei­ther side of half-time put Ed­die Jones’s side on their way to a bonus-point win.

A tremen­dous bounce­back from the World Cup fi­nal­ists af­ter los­ing their open­ing game in Paris that seems a life­time ago.

Youngs, the man of the match on his 100th ap­pear­ance, said: “I will try to ab­sorb the achieve­ment with the boys, I’m so proud. The most im­por­tant thing for me was to play a part in this team.

“I just wanted to fo­cus on my per­for­mance and ful­fil my role. It’s a great mile­stone, but cer­tainly not one that will make me take my foot off the gas. I love be­ing part of this group. It’s ex­cit­ing times.”

Jones’s first meet­ing with Youngs af­ter he took charge fea­tured the Eng­land coach giv­ing the Leicester scrum-half a bag of sweets as a none-toosub­tle hint to keep his weight down.

But the Aus­tralian gaffer could not have been hap­pier with Youngs’ per­for­mance at the Sta­dio Olimpico. Jones said: “It’s al­ways nice for play­ers to play well in their 100th game. He scored a cou­ple of nice tries so he will feel good about this game.

“The whole team feels good about him get­ting 100 caps. It’s a mas­sive achieve­ment and we’re so proud of him. Now we want him to go on and get 150.” ” A 29-point win­ning mar­gin in Rome was a sat­is­fac­tory re­turn, given the in­evitable rust in their first game for seven months.

Youngs said: “We al­ways felt it would be a grind­ing down process. But we knew we would get there in the end. That was the most im­por­tant thing.”

Eng­land were never able to cut loose against the noisy but limited Ital­ians.

But the gap in class was so marked that it was only a ques­tion of when, rather than if, they would achieve the bonus-point vic­tory they were chas­ing.

The an­swer to ‘ when’ was 67 min­utes. Tom Curry sniped down a de­serted blind-side from a ruck close to the Ital­ian line to cross with­out a fin­ger laid on him. The fifth try five min­utes later

came when Henry Slade went over af­ter re­place­ment Ben Earl had chased down Owen Far­rell’s chip.

Eng­land had strolled into a fifth-minute lead with Youngs track­ing a Far­rell break to touch down af­ter the cap­tain had been put through a hole by the soft hands of Mako Vu­nipola.

But their ob­ses­sion with the high kick gave Italy a f oothold and an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic fum­ble by Kyle Sinck­ler pre­sented a coun­ter­punch­ing chance the home side took. Carlo Canna fed Jake

Polledri and the bull-like No.8 swat­ted aside Youngs and An­thony Wat­son to mus­cle in for a try in the left-hand cor­ner.

Los­ing Polledri, who f o l lowe d Eng land debu­tant Jonny Hill into the sin- bin be­fore the break, proved costly. The

Tom Curry bags bonus-point try... but then Eng­land (above) could only wait for

re­sult in France

Ital­ian de­fence over­stretched it­self and Youngs ex­pertly dum­mied his way through to score his sec­ond just af­ter half time.

Wasps full-back Mat­teo Mi­nozzi’s game was ended shortly af­ter with a badly bro­ken nose af­ter a clash of heads with Jonny May.

With the med­dle­some Maro Itoje dis­rupt­ing the Az­zurri li­ne­out, Eng­land squeezed the Ital­ians and Jamie Ge­orge, win­ning his 50th cap, was mauled over in the 53rd minute.

The two tries that fol­lowed put Eng­land out of sight. Tar­get set, all they could do was sit back at the team hotel and en­joy what un­folded in Paris.

 ??  ?? YOUNGS AT HEART Man of the match Ben Youngs scores try
FEEL THE NOIZE Henry Slade touches down for more points
YOUNGS AT HEART Man of the match Ben Youngs scores try FEEL THE NOIZE Henry Slade touches down for more points

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