Rugby - Youngs: I've learned from Dublin low

Ben Youngs suffered one of the toughest days of his young career in Dublin two years ago, when England's Grand Slam bid was demolished by Ireland.

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Rugby - Youngs: I've learned from Dublin low

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Ben Youngs was sin-binned in the defeat to Ireland two years ago

The Leicester scrum-half will not be seeking direct revenge when England return to the Aviva Stadium next Sunday for a crunch RBS 6 Nations encounter. But it is the perfect stage upon which to prove he has lived up to his word and emerged from the bitter experience a better player.

Youngs was sin-binned for petulantly throwing the ball away as Ireland swept aside Martin Johnson's England 24-8, ruining their hopes of a first clean sweep since 2003. Afterwards, Youngs said: "I've played like an idiot but I have to man up and take it on the chin. This is a good test of character. Let's see what I am made of."

Lots has changed since that day, both for Youngs and England.

"I'm a far better player now after that experience," Youngs said after helping England open their Six Nations campaign with a 38-18 win against Scotland. "To lose the Grand Slam is never nice. I got sin-binned and things just didn't go my way. As hard as it is to deal with those moments and games, I am a strong believer that as you make mistakes you get better.

"It was a day at the office where I made a fair few mistakes. That day and getting bumped out of the World Cup (were my lowest points). It was a lot to handle but I certainly came out the other side a far better player.

"I'd rather have taken a Grand Slam. But saying that, you have to go through those hard times and defeats because it makes you learn very, very quickly. This side want to minimise that - we want to learn whilst winning."

England did win the the 2011 Six Nations title despite their defeat in Dublin but they will return a very different side, following Stuart Lancaster's revolution. Youngs said: "You can't compare it now to how it was back then. I think we probably tried to play too much rugby in the first 20 minutes and I don't think we understood what was coming at us.

"A lot of young guys from that squad are now two years wiser from club games, Test matches and Heineken games - they all add up. Look around the changing room and there is a huge amount of experience and also a huge amount of enthusiasm from the young guys as well. That helps drive the team.

"Stuart has come in and the long-term goal is 2015. That wasn't mentioned previously - then it was one tournament at a time, and now the goal is to get to 2015 at our peak. This is a journey on the way. Guys are just excited about the challenges."

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