Almost three months on, England superstar Dom Young has reflected on his remarkable World Cup campaign and reveals what he thinks went wrong in the semi-final against Samoa.
Young, 21, earned his first cap in the opening game of the tournament against Samoa at St James’ Park, scoring twice on debut in the 60-6 victory.
He went on to score a stunning nine tries in the competition, including four in the 94-4 victory over Greece.
The talented winger had only made two appearances for Huddersfield in England prior to his move to Newcastle Knights, and admits it was special to be able to play on home soil once again.
Speaking on Knights HQ podcast, Young reflected: “I had about a week and a half off then I was straight over for training.
“It was pretty crazy” – Dom Young
“It was definitely amazing and a very special experience. I didn’t play too much in England, so going back I was probably relatively unknown to a lot of English fans.
“Getting that experience of playing in front of an English crowd and in front of family and friends, it was pretty special. Singing the national anthem and hearing all the English fans and how they get behind the team, it’s hard to describe that feeling.
“To get that first proper cap, it was pretty crazy and still surreal.”
Young praised the squad and their instant connection, having scored 196 points during the group stages. The Yorkshire-born player finished second top try-scorer behind Josh Addo-Carr overall, and equaled England’s record for most scored in a match with four.
“I think the team just clicked really early and being a winger in that team, I had great half-backs and a great spine behind me so it was easy to get that ball in space,” he said.
“That’s what I want as a winger, to get the ball in good positions like that and then it’s my job to put it down.”
Dom Young on what went wrong
England were eventually knocked out of the delayed tournament by Samoa in the semi-finals, with Stephen Crichton kicking a dramatic golden point drop-goal to win the game 27-26 at Emirates Stadium.
“It was a bit strange,” Young said on the fixture.
“That first game to go like that and having to play them again, it felt it a bit weird as it’s in the back of your mind of doing that same again and they’re a bit more fired up for it as well to get pay back or whatever.
“It wasn’t our day at the end of the day.
“We just didn’t click on the day and we didn’t have too many close games either in the competition. So I think when it got a bit close, we kind of didn’t know what to do just through not being in that position as we had quite a few comfortable wins.”
Young however took a lot out of the experience, learning from veteran Ryan Hall, who fell as England’s third-choice winger for the competition having only made two appearances.
“Ryan Hall did a bit, being in my position and what he’s done for England the game in England especially,” Young said.
“He definitely helped me quite a lot. We had an exciting mix of experienced and youth, it was an exciting team to be a part of and to play with and everybody complemented everyone pretty well.
“It was all really positive and really good for me.”
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