World Cup winner Matt Dawson backs Ben Youngs to be England’s starting scrum-half
- Credit: PA
The battle for the England scrum-half berth could go down to the wire but World Cup winning No.9 Matt Dawson believes Norfolk's Ben Youngs has the all-round game which makes him Stuart Lancaster's best option.
Leicester Tigers star Youngs – named in England's final 31-man squad alongside older brother Tom yesterday – has been England's starter since midway through the autumn internationals but faces stiff competition for the jersey from both Danny Care and Richard Wigglesworth.
Dawson was part of the Red Rose side that triumphed in the 2003 World Cup where he produced the pass that set up Jonny Wilkinson for the match-winning drop goal in the final.
And the 42-year-old claims that all three scrum-halves offer something different but admits he would take Youngs' all-round ability ahead of Care's explosiveness or Wigglesworth's stability.
'Ben Youngs is your all-round and a good mix of Wigglesworth and Care's qualities so he can do all of that,' said Dawson.
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'If you want someone to come on and take quick tap penalties and spark it up and go for it, then of course you're going to go with Danny Care on the bench.
'However, if Ben Youngs goes down in the first five minutes, you're probably going to want Richard Wigglesworth to run the game and manage the game tactically. But one of the reasons that all three of them will go is that Stuart has that ability to pick his bench accordingly.
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'My worry is not about who comes on with ten minutes to go. My worry is what happens when they go down in the first ten minutes, with a key decision-maker like that, you've got to have someone who is right on game plan.'
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