Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match Ben Youngs believes England’s plan to come flying out of the blocks at Twickenham paid dividends in their 33-30 victory over Wales.
Eddie Jones’ side took the lead through Anthony Watson after just four minutes, as the hosts started the game looking like they had a point to prove.
Further tries from Elliot Daly and Manu Tuilagi secured a Triple Crown for England, as they keep the pressure on table toppers France ahead of their clash with Scotland on Sunday.
And the scrum-half believes the explosive start made all the difference, as they were immediately on the front foot against Wayne Pivac’s side, before seeing the game out with a resurgent defensive effort late on.
“We always try to come out with intensity, we did that and we were able to keep hold of the game and get control of it early on, a bit like they did in the second half,” Youngs said.
“This Wales team can punish you, and that showed in the last 20 minutes, we were camped in our own 22 and couldn’t get out, it was tight in the end.
“You have the best intentions to start well but sometimes you don’t, it happens. It’s rugby, it’s bizarre at times.” Youngs displayed exactly why he has been such a regular in the international fold during his career with another assured performance at Twickenham, his 99th in an England shirt.
It was his cleverly disguised inside pass that played Watson in for the opening score of the game, as he set the speedy winger away after a well-rehearsed set play from the lineout.
Not only did he excel with ball in hand, but also with the boot, managing 13 kicks in his time on the field to keep Wales penned in their own half.
He was also at the heart of England’s second and third tries, with sniping runs helping put England in position for Daly and Tuilagi to cross.
With three defenders beaten in his seven carries and 58 metres gained, the 30-year-old seldom wasted possession, and with a century of caps within his grasp Youngs is keen to continue performing on the highest stage.
“Every opportunity you get is a privilege, and to get that 99 times is incredible and I’m proud of it,” he said.
“I’ll do everything I can to continue to keep the fire in the belly to hopefully get a fair few more.”