England v Scotland - Record-breaker Youngs is keen to extend Scots’ run
THE last time Scotland beat England at Twickenham, Ben Youngs’ dad was part of the defeated Red Rose squad.
Granted, Nick Youngs did not actually play that day in 1983, staying unused off the bench during the 22-12 Five Nations defeat.
However, the scrum-half did get to make his debut in the following contest in Dublin, starting in place of captain Steve Smith and winning the first of six caps.
Tonight, the 59-year-old will return to HQ to watch on as his son becomes the most capped England scrum-half of all-time, making his 85th Test appearance with Scotland this time the opponents.
The perfect way to mark the occasion would, then, of course, be to see England claim the win that – if Ireland help out by beating Wales this afternoon – would secure them the Six Nations championship.
But Youngs Junior insists his personal imminent achievement has barely been mentioned with his parents when asked if there will be any special plans.
“I have not spoken to them,” said the 29-year-old, who will eclipse the record of long-term No9 rival Danny Care.
“But I am sure they will ... we’re pretty, erm... very sort of grounded. They will just say ‘Well done’.
“There won’t be anything planned other than that. But when I next get home, I’m sure I’ll have a beer with the old man, and that’ll be about as much as we’ll get.”
Is there no scrum-half chat at least, conversing about the ins and outs of their shared role?
“No, he doesn’t ever give me that,” said the Leicester Tigers star.
“I only have to watch a bit of footage from back in those days to realise how hard it was to get the ball out as the ruck was that much of a mess!
“No, none of that. I know they are coming out at the weekend so they will be watching and I know how proud they are so it’s just nice to know that they are in the stand and able to enjoy the day.”
Youngs missed last year’s shock loss against Scotland at Murrayfield after seeing his season ended by a serious knee injury suffered in the opening win in Rome.
Care took over but there is no doubt who is the No1 scrum-half in Eddie Jones’ mind now; Yorkshireman Care has been omitted completely this Championship, Wasps’ Dan Robson instead occupying the bench before succumbing to injury and Saracens’ Ben Spencer coming in this evening.
Youngs, then, has again seen off all-comers, quite timely given the World Cup is nigh.
“I am very grateful that I’ve been able to have this many opportunities to play this many times,” he continued.
“It is great when someone like Eddie that backs you the way he does for me. It makes me just want to go on and keep achieving.
“Obviously I missed the majority of last year’s Six Nations, so when you miss things and see it from the outside, it does you give this unbelievable desire to get back in there as quickly as possible and come back better.
“I feel like I’m in a good place and we have a huge amount of clarity about how we want to play which is key.”
Youngs made his debut against Scotland in a Calcutta Cup contest in 2010, ironically coming on on the wing for an injured Ugo Monye.
He knows, for all the injuries in their ranks, tonight’s visitors will look to spoil the party and finally end their 36-year wait for a victory at Twickenham.
“It is a huge fixture with a huge amount of history,” said the British Lion.
“We got schooled in the breakdown last year and that has obviously been a big focus this week to make sure we have got that real aggression, physicality going in there. We want the best performance of the tournament so far.”