Ben Youngs excited by South Africa challenge

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The Independent Online

Ben Youngs, one of the bright new stars of English rugby, is already buzzing at the thought of playing world champions South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

There were more valuable lessons for the 21-year-old Leicester scrum-half in this weekend's tough 26-13 victory over Samoa.

And they included selecting the right man to get into a scuffle with.

Late in the first half Youngs, prevented from getting on with the game quickly, sparked the game's only flare-up when he shoved number eight George Stowers, at more than 18 stone the heavier of the pair by 50lbs.

"Probably I should pick on somebody my own size - he's a bit of a big unit," he said after the game, his body "pretty sore" and his face and neck showing scars of battle.

"We got a penalty and they knew I wanted to go, but they got hold of the ball. He knew what he was doing and stopped me. It was a bit annoying really.

"I just need to choose who I go for more wisely.

"It's part of the game - not pushing and shoving, but Test match rugby has got to have an edge to it.

"No big deal. I spoke to him afterwards and we had a bit of a laugh about it."

Now the task for England is to make it three wins out of four in the autumn series - they began with defeat to New Zealand - and Youngs, man-of-the-match in the record triumph over Australia, added: "Hopefully I'm involved against South Africa and it will be another massive challenge.

"Everyone's psyched and it's a chance to lay down a marker."

It is hard to imagine it will be a more physical game than the one he came through on Saturday.

"Not that there's a lack of commitment in international rugby, but the Samoans can hit a little bit harder than normal guys," he said.

"New Zealand are amazing at the breakdown and when you are tackled you are really tackled, but when you are tackled by Samoa you are smashed.

"But that's what is great about rugby. You have the Aussies who play with flair and ambition and the Samoans who will hit you all day.

"It was a real banana skin potentially and we're happy with how it went.

"From what guys said I think when you play Samoa or Fiji they do things which aren't the norm.

"You're trying to run and there's somebody standing in the passing channel and another in front of you.

"It's quite unstructured and you really have to concentrate on trying to look after the ball.

"We wanted to play a similar game to the Australia one and we tried to, but Samoa did a good job. They slowed down our ball, got in the way and were making some good hits."