England centurion Youngs targeting 2023 Rugby World Cup

By Patric Ridge 12 November 2020 3
England centurion Youngs targeting 2023 Rugby World Cup

England's latest centurion Ben Youngs has set the 2023 Rugby World Cup in his sights, as he aims to prove himself all over again after making his 100th Test appearance.

Youngs won his 100th cap in England's 34-5 victory over Italy in Rome on October 31 – a win that secured a Six Nations triumph for Eddie Jones' side.

The 31-year-old scrum-half scored two tries to mark his milestone appearance in style, making 45 passes, three tackles and amassing 64 completed metres, in comparison to just two from his opposite number Marcello Violi.

However, after "wiping the slate clean", Youngs is now looking to prove himself once more for the Red Rose, with a place in the squad for the 2023 World Cup, which will be held in France, his target.

"I gave myself an opportunity afterwards to absorb what had happened," Youngs told reporters ahead of England's clash with Georgia at Twickenham, their opening fixture of the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup.

"Leading up to the game, I remember my 50th [cap], building up to the game I made it into something it wasn't. I felt like I had to go out there and play really well, justify why I'd got to 50.

"I guess experience does help that, when I got to 100 I just went out and treated it like any other game, went out and played and then afterwards absorbed everything, appreciated what I'd done.

"Then I wanted to just rip the slate clean, really. Start again, envision what I wanted. This is the first one, first week in camp. I've kind of used it as a reset. People can have various different ways but that's the approach I've gone with.

"Long-term goals, I want to be part of the World Cup in 2023. The short-term goal is Georgia, and to keep building where I am.

"There's a lot to happen between them, so I'll take it one game at a time but, without doubt, I want to be a part of it in 2023."

The Leicester Tigers man also believes an injection of youth into England's squad, in which he is now one of the elder statesmen, will only ensure his enthusiasm and desire to improve is maintained.

"I think a lot of it is in the mind and also, this squad we've got, we've got an unbelievable group of youth, a lot of enthusiastic young guys in the squad and that allows me to feed," he added.

"Such a blend of youngsters, you're just feeding off their energy and using it to spur you on. There's a lot to mention, they've got the bit between their teeth, real enthusiasm and I'm really enjoying being a part of that and trying to help them.

"I know if I help them, they'll help me. I try to give them as much of my experience and help them as much as I can and I know that they'll help me through their enthusiasm. It works both ways and it's working so far."

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Patric Ridge