English scrum half Ben Youngs has to wait for Lions audition after sitting on the bench for Leicester’s European Challenge Cup clash against Ulster
- Lions coaches Gregor Townsend and Steve Tandy will be attending Welford Road
- But Youngs has been appropriated by Wigglesworth in the Leicester No. 9 shirt
- Head coach Warren Gatland will appoint his 36-man squad next week
Ben Youngs faces a shortened final audition for a place in the Lions squad on Friday-evening.
The England scrum half has fallen to the bench for the Leicester European Challenge Cup semi-final against Ulster, so the 31-year-old, who has amassed 111 Test Caps, will have to bide his time before attempting to make an impact.
Lions coaches Gregor Townsend and Steve Tandy will be on Welford Road, but Youngs has been usurped in the No 9 shirt by Richard Wigglesworth.
Ben Youngs has been appropriated by Richard Wigglesworth in jersey No. 9 in Leicester
This could have been a great opportunity for the country’s leading scrum half to prove to the judges that he deserves to be included among the best in Britain and Ireland for the South Africa tour.
Head coach Warren Gatland will name his 36-man squad on Thursday after completing all close calls with his assistants – Townsend, Tandy, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins.
It is perceived that there is significant uncertainty at scrum half as the home country incumbents have been unable to make any compelling case for inclusion, while candidates from outside the Test squads at club level were in excellent shape.
One of those men is John Cooney, who will start for Ulster on Friday night and again wants to show just how authoritative and influential he can be on a big occasion, despite being out of favor with Ireland.
Youngs is very much in favor of England.
He has long been one of Eddie Jones’ esteemed stalwarts and has been nearly untouchable, despite the competing claims of domestic rivals Dan Robson, Ben Spencer and Harry Randall.
The 31-year-old has to wait to show that he deserves to be included in the Lions squad
In a recent interview with Sports mail, Harlequins ‘former England scrum half Danny Care, who has forced himself into Lions fights with some sensational recent feats, said:’ In Ben Youngs, he (Jones) has his man.
“It takes someone to do extraordinary things to get rid of Benny.”
On Friday nights, Youngs may have to do extraordinary things in a short space of time to get Townsend and Tandy’s attention.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland will appoint his 36-man squad next Thursday
They’ll also pay attention to Cooney and Ulster Captain Iain Henderson – the Irish lock – as well as Leicester’s English propeller Ellis Genge.
For the Tigers, the Challenge Cup is historically unknown territory.
Steve Borthwick is conducting a highly anticipated major overhaul of the East Midlands club. Making it to the finals of the continent’s second-tier event may not be comparable to previous glory, but it would somewhat validate the tigers’ transformation.