England v Samoa: Ben Youngs relishing scrum-half battle

Ben Youngs
Youngs missed this year's Six Nations but returned for the tour of New Zealand
Autumn internationals: England v Samoa
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday 22 November Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live from 19:20 GMT; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app; watch highlights on BBC Two on Sunday 23 November at 13:00 GMT

England's Ben Youngs believes competition is as keen as ever for the scrum-half position on the team.

Youngs comes back into Stuart Lancaster's side for Saturday's game against Samoa, replacing Danny Care, and will partner Bath's George Ford.

But the Leicester man knows the likes of Care, Richard Wigglesworth and Lee Dickson are pushing him for the role.

"Players will always be picked on form and if you drop form, the position is very competitive," he told BBC Sport.

"If you are not firing on all cylinders, one of the other nines will be. You have to focus on yourself and make sure you are firing all the time.

"To get the opportunity to start this weekend is a huge chance for me to put down a marker."

The 25-year-old was out of favour for this year's Six Nations but returned to start two of England's three summer tests in New Zealand and came on as a replacement in the narrow Twickenham losses to both New Zealand and South Africa over the last two weeks.

Youngs, who will win his 41st cap on Saturday, is relishing his new role as Leicester captain and, although the Tigers are ninth in the Premiership with only three wins from seven games, he believes it is helping his confidence.

"We probably haven't had the results we have wanted and have had plenty of battles, which is rare for us," he admits. "Being captain I have enjoyed it and it has allowed me take on more responsibility and also learn and I feel I have matured as a player."

England: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Anthony Watson (Bath), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), George Ford (Bath), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath), David Wilson (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Ben Morgan (Gloucester).

Replacements: Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle), George Kruis (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Marland Yarde (Harlequins).

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