is costing England.
England beat a woeful Australia, yet again under Eddie Jones but all of England’s woes in a disjointed performance can be put down to one player, who Jones keeps clinging to, the dithering Ben Youngs.
Australia never looked like crossing the England try line and in the end the scoreline of 32-15 flattered the visitors, with all of their points coming from stupid England penalties.
Jones was criticised for his starting XV and the for the way they lined up. The main criticism came with him bringing back his captain, Owen Farrell, after the Covid absence for the Tonga game. With Farrell back in Manu was nominally shifted out to the wing, to accommodate the captain, the new superstar – Marcus Smith – and Henry Slade.
But every time Australia were on the front foot and England were rocked back it was down to one player. Ben Youngs.
Youngs. Slow to the breakdown. Slow when at the breakdown. Slow when getting away from the breakdown. Inept box kicks for the breakdown. Inept passing.
It all caused England the most problems. How slow was he getting in there? I remember one, when the forwards were all in position and I think it was Lawes was at the back of the ruck, looking for his scrum-half. By the time Youngs finally got there, the Aussies had got a push on and it was dirty ball again. How many times were England counter rucked, resulting in lost possession or poor possession because Youngs was so slow and dithering in doing anything?
And when he did get the ball away it was those damn awful kicks just giving the ball away, kicking it straight to an opposing player on the charge. And when he didn’t kick, my god, his passing was even worse. Nearly everyone head high and straight at the player so they had to stop and jump to receive it, killing all of their momentum.
It doesn’t matter how good the forwards are, or how skilful the likes of Smith are. If you have Youngs linking the play like this.
Maybe Jones has to let go of Farrell to let other flourish but if he sticks with Youngs it won’t matter.