Ben Youngs gees up England for Nations Cup final – but France stand down ALL of their stars
Youngs clears his lines during England’s 24-13 win over Wales (Image: Getty Images)
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Ben Youngs says France are a team on a mission and England must match their emotion if they want to win the Autumn Nations Cup.
Only a deal between France’s clubs and national federation, preventing any player featuring in more than three end-of-year Tests, means Les Bleus will have none of their stars at Twickenham.
What a terrible look for the tournament that the entire starting line-up which beat England in the Six Nations will be absent. France’s side will instead boast fewer than 100 caps, compared to more than 800 in the opposition.
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France beat Italy 36-5 with their understrength team to reach the final
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Yet Youngs, who on his own contributes 103, warned that what they lose in experience France have the potential to make up for in emotion following the tragic death of former winger Christophe Dominici.
“Rugby is so much built on emotion, a lot of the game comes down to that,” said the scrum-half, after helping England grind their way to a 24-13 defeat of Wales in Llanelli.
“With the sad news of Dominici and what that will do to their emotion levels, France will be desperate to put a performance out there to represent him.
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Nick Tompkins is tackled by Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola at Parc y Scarlets
(Image: Getty Images)
“It important we acknowledge what is coming and understand that it will be a factor in their emotional state. I expect a really passionate French team.”
With Dominici’s name embossed on the sleeve of their jerseys, and a giant photo banner of the winger on display at Stade de France, Fabien Galthie’s rookies crushed Italy 36-5 on Saturday night.
“Whichever French team takes the field will be ferocious,” Youngs warned. “We remember back to February when they ambushed us and really did teach us some lessons.”
French great Christophe Dominici died last week aged 48
(Image: AFP FILES/AFP via Getty Images)
The scrum-half claims those lessons have been learned and certainly in results terms, with seven straight wins and the Six Nations title, they have responded.
But an attacking game to compliment the defensive masterclass they showcased against Ireland is still in the development phase.
“We'd like to play with a bit more precision and fluency but it’s just not there at the moment,” said Jones.
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England head coach Eddie Jones
(Image: Getty Images)
"It is the way rugby is at the moment. The size of the pitch hasn't changed. You have 15 players now who are all athletically superior to what they were 12 months ago, so space is hard to find.
"Sometimes you want to go round, sometimes you want to go through and sometimes over the top. At the moment, over the top is the way to do it.”
England trailed until the half hour mark to Johnny Williams’ try from a Henry Slade charge down by Dan Biggar.
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They responded with a Slade try which should not have stood as Sam Underhill took out Biggar in the air.
Having ridden their luck their set-piece took over. Wales got no change out of the English lineout and conceded five penalties at the scrum.
"I wouldn't say it [the style] is boring,” Jones told BBC Five Live. “If you don't like scrums and line-outs, go and watch rugby league.”
WALES – Try: J Williams. Con: Halfpenny. Pen: Biggar 2.
ENGLAND – Tries: Slade, M Vunipola. Con: Farrell. Pens: Farrell 4.