Six Nations: Ben Youngs promises England will be 'smarter' against Ireland

Ben Youngs
Youngs was part of the England team that had their Grand Slam hopes spiked in Dublin in 2017
Six Nations 2019: Ireland v England
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday 2 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and Radio Ulster, plus live text commentary & highlights on the BBC Sport website.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs has promised England will be "smarter" than in the 2017 defeat to Ireland when the teams meet in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Ireland's win two years ago ended England's record-equalling 18-Test winning run and denied Eddie Jones' team a second successive Grand Slam.

"I hope we will be a lot smarter this time. In fact I know we will be," Leicester's Youngs told BBC Sport.

"You have to win on the floor and in the air against Ireland."

Youngs believes securing ball at the breakdown and being prepared for a barrage of high kicks from the hosts is key to England's hopes of success against the defending Six Nations champions in Dublin.

"They get a huge amount of momentum on the back of their kicks and winning them back and they are unbelievably competitive at the breakdown," he added.

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Dominant Ireland derail England

As well as being part of the team beaten 13-9 in Ireland two years ago, Youngs also started in England's 19-9 defeat in Dublin in 2015.

Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw scored the only try of that game by beating England full-back Alex Goode to claim scrum-half Conor Murray's box-kick.

While admitting Murray's kicking game is a big part of Ireland's attacking arsenal, Youngs says he will not focus solely on his opposite number.

"It is a huge weapon and he is a key cog in Ireland but you can't get drawn into this one on one," he said.

"We have to defend smartly and put kick pressure on him, and try and win the ball, but it is not about me versus Conor."

Ben Youngs and Conor Murray
Ben Youngs and Conor Murray, as team-mates for the British and Irish Lions in 2013, and opponents for Leicester and Munster respectively

With centre Manu Tuilagi poised to make his first international start since 2014 and Billy and Mako Vunipola back from injuries that ruled them out of the autumn series, England have a host of powerful ball-carrying options.

Youngs says England must make better use of them than they have on previous trips to Dublin.

"The objective for me as a nine is to make sure we are using them in the right, smart way," he added.

"When I look back to 2017, we had those guys but we weren't smart in how we used them, sending them down, where Ireland were strong, in heavy traffic where they were able to jackal."

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