Wednesday 21 February 2018

Johnson adds bite

Mick Cleary in Sydney

LOCK Courtney Lawes and scrum-half Ben Youngs will be named today in the side to face Australia in the second Test at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, as England look to inject more snap into their attacking play.

It will be their first start for England, and is an indication that Martin Johnson wants to use this final Test as a means of kick-starting the World Cup campaign.

Lawes, of Northampton, has made three appearances from the bench and is just the sort of dynamic specimen that Toby Flood will want to bring into action, while Leicester's Youngs was prominent after coming on for Danny Care midway through the second half of the first Test.

Youngs (20) is the youngest member of the 44-man touring party but spearheaded Leicester's push for Premiership honours.

Flood, who resisted the challenge of Jonny Wilkinson for the No 10 shirt, admitted that he and his team-mates became too blinkered during the first Test, fixated on their dominance in the scrum.

Flood has been given another opportunity to show that he can generate more variety.

"We stagnated and stuck in a bit of a rut," said Flood.

"It's tantalising to keep going for the scrum when you know you might get a pushover or a yellow card, but, in a way, we were led down the garden path and found it difficult to get out of there.

"We probably did make too much of the scrum. It was counterproductive. We should have had a crack at them. We've got to go out with more ambition."

Australia hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been ruled out of Saturday's second Test with an ankle injury.

Irish Independent

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