Ben Youngs in the form of his life, says World Cup winner Neil Back
- Credit: PA
Ben Youngs was a player re-born in the Six Nations, according to England legend Neil Back, and it could take something special to wrestle the No.9 shirt off him.
It wasn't too long ago that Danny Care was Red Rose head coach Stuart Lancaster's go-to scrum-half, the Harlequins man a leading light in their 2014 Six Nations campaign.
However, Norfolk-born Youngs has thrust himself back into the jersey in impressive fashion, most recently at his attacking best in England's thrilling 55-35 victory over France last month.
The Leicester Tigers No.9 looks likely to pull on the jersey when England kick off their World Cup campaign this year and Back – a member of the squad that lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in 2003 – has no complaints with that.
'Ben Youngs had a bit of a dip in form for whatever reason but has come back very strong and based on the final game against France, it suggests that he should be the starting scrum-half,' said Back, who is chairing the panel deciding on Green Flag's Forward of the Season competition, with the winner revealed at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards on 20th May at the Park Lane Hilton, London.
'Take that try where he takes it from deep after he spots the chance to go against France – England just don't do that normally but the best sides in the world, when it's right to go they take that option available, which is usually un-English.
'England usually would be setting that ball up for a five-metre drive and kicking it away but Youngs spotted the chance and took it.'
- 1 The school where boys can wear skirts - but not shorts
- 2 Woman in her 20s dies in A47 crash
- 3 Cyclist in her 50s dies in A11 crash
- 4 Man jealous of ex-wife's new relationship burnt down house
- 5 Michael Bublé concert bans chairs and blankets from gig
- 6 Husband sues hospital over 'medical neglect' death of wife
- 7 How much will Great Yarmouth's new Marina Centre cost?
- 8 Norfolk's landmark vote to curb second homes
- 9 A11 reopens after air ambulance called to crash
- 10 Roadworks and closures to be aware of in Norfolk this week
However, Back doesn't expect the 25-year-old to have it all his own way, with a number of rivals waiting in the wings to take his place.
Care is the established back-up, while Lee Dickson, Richard Wigglesworth and Joe Simpson – fresh from scoring a try-of-the-season contender for Wasps against Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena – are all in contention.
And Back believes that depth, which was plain to see when England last won the World Cup, is important.
'Wind the clock back to 2003 and you had Matt Dawson as the first choice, then Kyran Bracken and Andy Gomarsall as back-ups,' he added.
'Ben is in great form at the moment but Danny Care is a very capable player then you've got Joe Simpson and that try against Chiefs at the weekend, which was just magic.
'Simpson would be a great player to come off the bench to run at the opposition late on, but it comes back to consistency.
'Wasps have played well this year, scoring 72 tries, more than anyone else in the Premiership and Simpson has been a big part of that but it's not just about that, you also need to be good defensively too.'
Green Flag – proud partner of Aviva Premiership Rugby – has revealed the shortlist for the Green Flag Forward of the Season award. The winner will be announced on May 20. Follow us @GreenFlagUK, on facebook.com/GreenFlagUK or at www.greenflag.com.