Youngs won’t be intimidated by Welsh physical onslaught

ENGLAND scrum-half Ben Youngs admits he’s relishing the prospect of the physical battle which is likely to ensue when Martin Johnson’s side get their RBS 6 Nations campaign underway against Wales on Friday night.

The 21-year-old cemented his place in Johnson’s side after following up his match-winning exploits in Sydney last summer with a set of eye-catching displays in the autumn.

Wales, and in particular Youngs’ opposite number Mike Phillips, will offer a different sort of test at the Millennium Stadium to the one he was subjected to against the southern hemisphere sides, but one he won’t shy from.

“He’ll probably try to push me around, be physical with me and have a bit of sledging round the scrum,” said Youngs (right). “Mike’s a big guy as well as a very experienced player. My focus is just to get on with my play.

“As long as things are in the right manner, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of niggle. If you’re in control then it’s all right.”

England manager Johnson is set to name his team today, while Wales coach Warren Gatland is tipped to select James Hook at full-back instead of Lee Byrne and Morgan Stoddart could start in place of injured wing Leigh Halfpenny.