Tiger returns to claim starting spot


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ben Youngs' lively return after a knee injury has put him in line to regain the England starting place he held last season.

The Leicester scrum-half neededsurgery after a mishap on a wrestling mat in the a training camp in June, and saw no action in the three August Tests. In a rare highlight on a night of close-quarter grappling and poor goal-kicking in Dunedin, Youngs was introduced as a replacement for Richard Wigglesworth early in the second half, and among a number of incisive contributions he burst through a gap in the Argentina defence to score the crucial try in the 68th minute.

"We got a bit more when Ben was on," said Martin Johnson, the England manager. "He runs off the side of the ruck well, it gave us some quicker ball and a bit of go-forward."

Johnson admitted he had thought also about sending Youngs' club-mate Toby Flood on at fly-half, for the misfiring Jonny Wilkinson.

While Argentina's captain, Felipe Contepomi, went to hospital for an x-ray on damaged ribs, and the centre Gonzalo Tiesi suffered a suspected knee ligament injury in a heavy tackle from Courtney Lawes, the England flanker James Haskell batted away controversy over his accusation to the referee that there had been eye-gouging.

"It's happened to me a few times in my career," said Haskell. "At the time I was stressed but it was nothing." An independent citing commissioner could yet bring a case.