Ben Youngs: A closer look at the career of England’s most-capped player

Ben Youngs: A closer look at the career of England’s most-capped player

February 26, 2022

England’s Ben Youngs cames on against Wales for a record-breaking 115th cap

Ben Youngs became England’s most-capped rugby union international with his appearance against Wales on Saturday.

The 32-year-old Leicester scrum-half came off the bench at Twickenham to win his 115th cap in front of the previous record holder, World Cup-winning prop Jason Leonard, as well as playing his 50th match in the Six Nations.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at Youngs’ career record.

Cap comparison

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Youngs and Leonard are the only players with a century of England appearances and are well clear of the third name on the most-capped list, Dylan Hartley on 97.

Owen Farrell, who has 94 with his six British and Irish Lions appearances lifting him to 100 international caps overall, is set to be the next man to reach the England landmark – although he will miss the whole of the 2022 Six Nations with an ankle injury. Forward Courtney Lawes returned from concussion to win his 91st cap against Wales.

Youngs is only the 23rd player and the third Englishman to make a half-century of appearances in the Six Nations or its previous formats. Leonard played 54 times, including 49 starts, while winger Rory Underwood started all of his 50 games in the competition.

Youngs’ two appearances for the British & Irish Lions mean Saturday’s outing lifts him to 117 international caps overall and into the top 25 of the all-time world list, level with former South Africa forward Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira.

George Gregan is the only scrum-half to win more caps than Youngs – 139 for Australia – while only seven No.9s have reached three figures.

England impact

Youngs has another England century to his name in terms of points, having scored 20 tries in his international career.

That ranks him in the top 10 for his country, level with wings Chris Ashton and Mark Cueto in the last spot.

He has started 91 of his 115 games and featured in 80 wins, 33 losses and two draws, giving England a 70 per cent win rate with Youngs involved.

That rises to 74 per cent in the Six Nations, with 37 wins out of 50, and 71 per cent (10 of 14) at the World Cup.

By way of comparison, Leonard’s 114 games brought 86 wins – 76 per cent – with 26 losses and two draws. He started 102 times and his lone try came against Argentina in 1996.

Honours

Youngs has won four Six Nations titles with England, in 2011, the grand slam of 2016, 2017 and 2020.

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He appeared in every match in those triumphant campaigns, starting all but four, and capped the 2020 tournament with two tries in the title-clinching win over Italy on his 100th England appearance.

He also made 17 appearances with 15 starts in England’s world record-equalling 18-game winning run from 2015 to 2017, which included that 2016 slam. He and England were unable to add the 2019 World Cup to their list of honours, though, losing 32-12 in the final to South Africa.

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