Youngs: Orchestrator Ford will carry England fight

Ross McLean
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RESURGENT England scrum-half Ben Youngs has dismissed any notion of having to take new boy George Ford under his wing when they reprise their half-back partnership against Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.

The duo were paired together at Leicester before Ford’s defection to Bath at the start of last season but England head coach Stuart Lancaster has now come calling in a bid to solve the conundrum of his side’s misfiring back-line.

Ford’s inclusion after four appearances as a replacement sees Owen Farrell shunted to inside-centre, one of five changes following defeat to South Africa, and 41-cap Youngs is convinced his former domestic team-mate will thrive as England’s creative force.

“I won’t need to put my arm around George or anything like that,” said Youngs. “George plays as if he has been around for ages.

“As a 10 you have to boss the game, you have to run things. What I need to do is get the ball early to him, let him get into the game, let him play. He is the orchestrator.”

Youngs roared onto the international scene as a 20-year-old in 2010 but that glint faded over time, with the tenacious scrum-half suffering a fall from grace which culminated in his omission from England’s last Six Nations squad.

But the captaincy role at Leicester, deputising for long-term injury victim Ed Slater, has helped revive a stalling career, and Youngs points to the importance of retracing his steps in a bid to resurrect his international fortunes. “I was in a rut, a dark place, and I had to go back to my club and find that spark again after not being involved last season,” he added. “I did everything I could to find a way out. I had to change my mindset.”