England hoping for first win against Samoa with Youngs to start
England will be hoping for their first win of the season, as they take on Samoa for the third match of the Autumn International series.
Stuart Lancaster’s side are massively odds-on at 1/16 for the match, and scrum half Ben Youngs, who is set to come back into the team, replacing Danny Care, reckons competition for the spot is tougher than it’ ever been.
“Players will always be picked on form and if you drop form, the position is very competitive,” Youngs said.
“If you are not firing on all cylinders, one of the other nines will be. You have to focus on yourself and make sure you are firing all the time.
“To get the opportunity to start this weekend is a huge chance for me to put down a marker.”
Youngs, 7/4 to score anytime, was left out of England’s Six Nations squad earlier this year, though started two of the team’s three summer tests, and has also featured in the narrow defeats against New Zealand and South Africa. The new Leicester captain will earn his 41st cap against Samoa and is relishing the challenge.
“We probably haven’t had the results we have wanted and have had plenty of battles, which is rare for us,” Youngs continued.
“Being captain I have enjoyed it and it has allowed me take on more responsibility and also learn and I feel I have matured as a player.”
Also set to start is Bath’s George Ford, who has been tipped for stardom and is 7/2 to cross anytime, as well as 20/1 in the first scorer market. Ben Morgan breached the whitewash against South Africa, and is 2/1 to do so again anytime, while Brad Barritt, another that added five points, is 5/2 in the same market.
Samoa beat Canada 23-13 last time out, though are unfancied at 8/1 to keep that trend going against England; however, it will be a tough challenge for England. Alapati Leiua and David Lemi could be their best chance of scoring, and both are 4/1 in the anytime market.
England: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Anthony Watson (Bath), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), George Ford (Bath), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath), David Wilson (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Ben Morgan (Gloucester).
Replacements: Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Kieran, Brookes (Newcastle), George Kruis (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Marland Yarde (Harlequins).