'Legend' Ben praised by his skipper

England captain Lewis Moody labelled Ben Youngs a 'legend' after the Norfolk youngster's brilliant early try had inspired England to a thrilling 21-20 victory over Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

England captain Lewis Moody labelled Ben Youngs a 'legend' after the Norfolk youngster's brilliant early try had inspired England to a thrilling 21-20 victory over Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

After months of disappointment, frustration and criticism, England provided a glimpse towards a positive future by landing only their third Test victory over the Wallabies on Australian soil.

Jonny Wilkinson returned to haunt Australia by coming off the bench to land the decisive penalty - but the victory was founded on youth, with scrum-half Youngs and wing Chris Ashton scoring their maiden Test tries.

Dan Cole produced an inspirational performance despite only being able to see out of one eye, Courtney Lawes proved he is ready for Test rugby and Tom Croft enjoyed his best game in an England jersey. All five men are under 25 years of age.


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Johnson had given Youngs and Lawes their first Test starts in a bid to inject some dynamism and energy into England's performance and he was richly rewarded.

'Ben Youngs' first start was brilliant. What a legend,' said Moody. 'I have played with him since he broke into the Leicester team as a 17-year-old and his potential is huge.

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'The speed and enthusiasm and the pace he plays the game at makes such a difference.'

Veteran Steve Thompson was also impressed by Youngs and the other England youngsters, adding: 'It's a young team, coming together, there is a group that can show we have the chance of winning big games.'

'Youngsy scored a tremendous try and Lawes was everywhere all over the pitch. They brought that little bit extra and Ben especially showed on the world stage what a top player he is. He's only a young lad and showed such maturity on the field, bossed the other lads around and ran the game. He's a frightening prospect really.'

The result changed the complexion of the tour and of England's management team. It was England's first victory over a Tri-Nations power since the 2007 World Cup and only their second away win since Johnson took over in 2008.

There was a scenario in play before kick-off which could have seen Scotland overtake England in the world rankings. It was no wonder they reacted with such vigour.

This win is massive, it gives us belief,' added Thompson. 'It shows that we can come away and win against some of the big teams.

'You can only go on so long saying we should've got that right or we're going to improve here, before you actually get a win.'

However confident Thompson is about the future and however well England celebrated in Sydney on Saturday night - and it was about as well as they had played - Martin Johnson's demeanour after the victory said everything about where the team is in its development.

England have produced one-off performances in recent years, most notably in the Twickenham victories over Ireland in 2008 and France in 2009, but the key is consistency.

Last week's defeat in Perth was so galling to England because they had failed to build on the positive steps taken in the Six Nations game against France. The autumn schedule looks daunting, with New Zealand, Samoa, Australia and South Africa due at Twickenham, but England are determined not to repeat that mistake.

'We haven't just won the World Cup, we know that,' said coach Graham Rowntree. 'But with the pressure we had and not fulfilling our potential, we needed that. I thought we played well but we are not getting carried away. We have to back it up.'

England arrived in Napier yesterday with a reduced 28-man for their final tour match against the New Zealand Maori on Wednesday.

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