Tom Youngs pleased to answer critics in England’s warm-up victory over Ireland
- Credit: PA
Tom Youngs was delighted to answer some of his critics with a much improved display to help England go into their home World Cup campaign on a high.
The Norfolk-born hooker was criticised for a rusty performance in a 25-20 loss in France two weeks earlier but played a key role as tries from Jonny May and Anthony Watson helped establish a 12-3 lead.
A third touchdown by May was disallowed for a forward pass from Youngs and later a fourth by Richard Wigglesworth was also scrubbed off after a mix up between captain Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood.
Six Nations champions Ireland fought their way back into the match when Paul O'Connell crossed, but the final 15 minutes were dominated by the hosts, who should have emerged more convincing winners.
Youngs was generally back to his bustling best against Ireland though – as he continued to try and prove he is the right man to replace Dylan Hartley, who was left out of England's World Cup squad due to ill-discipline.
'I don't care about what people outside the circle think or say. But, hopefully, I have answered some of my critics. I was very happy with my performance,' Youngs said.
'I didn't feel under any pressure. I just wanted to go out there and show what I can do. The most important thing was we put in a good performance and we now go into a World Cup with a win over a strong Irish side.'
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The former Holt and North Walsham junior started the final warm-up match – as did his younger brother, Ben, at scrum-half – ahead of the tournament beginning on Friday, September 18.
He finished the match with 100pc accuracy from his lineout throws, aided by the selection of his former Leicester Tigers team-mate Geoff Parling to bolster England's set-piece. Youngs also made 14 tackles and eight attacking runs to be among the nominations for the man of the match award, although that accolade was won by May.
The 28-year-old and his front-row partners Dan Cole and Joe Marler will still feel there is room for improvement ahead of the curtain-raiser against Fiji at Twickenham but was pleased with their progress.
'We wanted to put right the things that went wrong against France where we were too eager at times and made too many mistakes,' the former Gresham's School pupil continued, speaking to the Mail on Sunday.
'This time the discipline was good and the set-piece accuracy was far better. We attacked it at the right time and made some good decisions. But clearly there are a few things still to improve.'
Head coach Stuart Lancaster also thinks his side are just about ready for the tournament to get under way.
'It's a results-based business and I understand that, but I think this team is ready,' Lancaster said.
'There are six or seven teams who could win it – I would add to the list Ireland, Australia, Wales, New Zealand, South Africa, the list goes on – and whoever does win it will have to put together a run of six or seven performances on the bounce.
'That's our challenge as well, but playing at Twickenham the way we did against Ireland, we're a hard team to beat.'