Dylan Hartley injury woes boost Tom Youngs’ hopes of England selection
06:30 12 January 2016
Tom Youngs admits he was disappointed to not have a chance to prove himself against England rival Dylan Hartley for Leicester Tigers – as attentions begin to turn to the RBS Six Nations.
Hartley was withdrawn from Northampton’s squad shortly before Saturday’s Aviva Premiership derby clash with Leicester at Welford Road, which Tigers won 30-27.
With new England head coach Eddie Jones watching from the stands, ahead of naming his Elite Player Squad tomorrow, Hartley was withdrawn with a rib injury.
Norfolk-born Youngs, 28, captained Leicester to victory but missed out on a chance to battle Hartley – who is reportedly in the running to become England skipper under Jones.
“I enjoyed being captain,” Youngs told the Daily Mail. “I am not going to answer about the England captaincy; let Eddie decide.
“I would like to have had a battle against Dylan. I’m sure he would say the same. It’s always good to go against someone like him.”
Hartley missed England’s World Cup campaign due to ill-discipline, leaving Youngs to wear the number two shirt throughout the disappointing tournament for Stuart Lancaster’s side.
With Jamie George continuing to impress for league leaders Saracens and Hartley also having been troubled by concussion earlier this season, Jones has an intriguing decision to make.
It is not the Australian’s only worry either, as he prepares to kick off his England reign against Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations on February 6.
Second row George Kruis, wing Jack Nowell and number eight Ben Morgan have all been added to a lengthy injury list that sees seven players miss all or part of the Championship.
The latest round of Premiership action was not without reason to cheer, however, as star centre Manu Tuilagi impressed as he returned from a long-term groin injury for Leicester against Northampton and will come into contention for the 33-man EPS squad.