England 54-12 Fiji, November 10
Tom Youngs: I'm still a work in progress
November 11, 2012
Tom Youngs (right) stands alongside his brother Ben © PA Photos
England hooker Tom Youngs claimed he was "happy" with his international debut but admitted that the team will have to step up another gear when they tackle the Wallabies at Twickenham next weekend.
Youngs had started just nine games at hooker for the Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership and the Heineken Cup before he was thrown into Test action against Fiji on Saturday from the outset in England's. There were question marks surrounding Youngs' throwing accuracy heading into the game but he hit 100% of his 14 lineout throws and rubbished the critics with an impressive performance both in the set piece and in the loose as England claimed a 54-12 triumph.
"I was happy to get 100% lineout and that is always my goal," Youngs said. "Sometimes things don't go like that and I was pleased to put in that sort of performance at this stage. I'm still a work in progress - I still need to keep on working hard at it and I will continue doing it."
Despite the ease with which Youngs seemed to adjust to Test rugby, he was adamant that it was "definitely not a doddle" and that he will have to work to get the other aspects of his game "up to the standard" of his play in the loose. He ended up playing 65 minutes of the match with David Paice eventually replacing him but for six minutes, he was playing in the same England XV as brother Ben.
The Youngs family is steeped in rugby heritage with Tom's father having earned four caps in the 1980s. It was a family affair at Twickenham on Saturday with three generations of Youngs in attendance and Tom Youngs admitted that playing alongside his brother at Twickenham for England was "another box ticked".
"He came on when I was on the pitch which was great and to stand next to him singing the national anthem was a great moment and it was something that I will always remember," Tom Youngs said. "We had a photograph after the game and it's quite a special photograph really. My grandparents were here and they watched my Dad play here and to see their two grandsons play must have been a special day for them too."
And any nerves that might have been felt in the Youngs quarter would have abated after the first lineout of the match which the Youngs brothers' Tigers team-mate Geoff Parling plucked with ease and the hooker admitted that he "was looking forward to it".
"Look, if you're panicking about things like that then you aren't going to perform on the big stage. You have to go into it relaxed. I've been talking with Simon Hardy (specialist coach with the RFU) about my first throw and about what I was going to do and all this sort of business. I was clear, I knew what call Geoff was going to make from my first throw, I was happy with it and away we went."
Youngs looks set to keep his shirt ahead of the match with the Wallabies next weekend and despite Australia's heavy loss to France on Saturday evening, they will pose a much sterner test than Fiji.
"It's massive," Tom Youngs said. "We're now playing Australia, South Africa and New Zealand and it doesn't' get much bigger than that and we know that. But we're a good side, we're going to step up and that's what we're going to take out of this game that we've got more gears in us yet. We'll look at the good bits and work on the negative bits ahead of next weekend."
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Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.