Gutsy display gives England belief, says scrum-half Youngs

ENGLAND scrum-half Ben Youngs has told his colleagues that their performance against New Zealand proves they are capable of beating Australia on Saturday.

Martin Johnson’s men won widespread praise for recovering from a terrible start to force the All Blacks to scrap for their 26-16 victory in a hard-fought climax.

Youngs insists he and his team-mates missed a chance to score a huge win but believes their fightback has cemented belief they can register a first victory of the autumn against Australia this weekend.

“Every person in this squad believed we could win that game and I hope that showed. It was an opportunity missed,” said the Leicester youngster, who scored a try when England won in Australia in June.

“It was very hard to take. Everyone’s head was down in the dressing room afterwards and you could hear a pin drop.

“We could have won that game because we put them under some real pressure. I can think of a couple of good opportunities that we missed off the top of my head, which was frustrating.

“But it is encouraging that we created chances and we need to keep believing in ourselves because that was a missed chance.”

Johnson, meanwhile, has fresh fears over the fitness of captain Lewis Moody, who suffered a blow to the head in a clash with New Zealand’s Keven Mealamu, as he prepares to name his team today.

Uncapped Northampton flanker Tom Wood was last night called up to the squad as cover for Moody, who has played just twice since sustaining permanent sight damage last month in an eye socket injury.

Mealamu has been cited for the incident but denies deliberately headbutting Moody.