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Ben Youngs equals England appearance record that stood for 18 years

By PA
Ben Youngs /PA

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Ben Youngs joined Jason Leonard as England’s most-capped rugby union international with his appearance against Italy on Sunday.

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The 32-year-old Leicester scrum-half came off the bench in the 55th minute at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to win his 114th cap and draw level with World Cup-winning prop Leonard.

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

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Cap comparison
Leonard and Youngs are the only players with a century of England appearances and are 17 clear of the third name on the most-capped list, Dylan Hartley.

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 – though he will miss the whole Six Nations with an ankle injury and forward Courtney Lawes is not far behind him on 90.

Worldwide, George Gregan is the only scrum-half to win more caps than Youngs – 139 for Australia – while only seven number nines have reached a century.

His two appearances for the British and Irish Lions mean Sunday’s outing lifts Youngs to 116 international caps overall and the next fixture against Wales on February 26 brings the promise of more landmarks, if selected.

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Lions Chairman Jason Leonard (Getty)

As well as passing Leonard to claim the England record outright on 115, he will be playing his 50th game in the Six Nations and will move into the top 25 of the all-time world list, level with former South Africa forward Tendai Mtawarira on 117 caps.

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.

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He has started 91 of his 114 games to date and featured in 79 wins, 33 losses and two draws, giving England a 69 per cent win rate with Youngs in the side.

That rises to 73 per cent in the Six Nations, with 36 wins out of 49, 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.

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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