Should England leave Ben Youngs?

England v Scotland Six Nations Q&A: Should England go further than Ben Youngs?  —David Rodgers/Getty Images

England v Scotland Six Nations Q&A: Should England go further than Ben Youngs? —David Rodgers/Getty Images

England lost their first game of the Steve Borthwick era after Scotland passed them at Twickenham.

Charlie Morgan, senior rugby writer for Telegraph Sport, answers your questions after Gregor Townsend’s team win the Calcutta Cup again.

Ben Youngs got two terrible kicks to transfer possession as he was brought on to control the game. Is it time to move on?

This question has come up a lot in recent years and Borthwick must have thought about it. He is known for his loyalty to players and Youngs was one of his lieutenants with Tigers. But two bad kicks from the veteran scrum half in the space of a minute, with England leading 23-22, felt particularly damaging. Finn Russell had just turned a full-on strikeout to lineout the hosts. They tore apart and Youngs hoisted into the air.

However, it went too far for either pursuer, Ben Earl or Anthony Watson, to challenge. Kyle Steyn called for a mark and erased. Youngs rallied in the backfield and attempted an up-and-under for Freddie Steward to chase. Again the kick sailed too long. Steward couldn’t jump. Russell caught and spun off, fizzled a pass to Blair Kinghorn who opened up the field and initiated the 80-yard attack, finished by Duhan van der Merwe. In an instant, Scotland’s sentencing contrasted sharply with how England appeared to be tightening up.

Youngs also hooked a few fruitless chips off the base of rucks that yielded good positions. Alex Mitchell appears to be next in line, as Borthwick feels he needs to brush things up. Raffi Quirke qualifies. One concern would be that Jack van Poortvliet, the number one, is only 21. An experienced foil would be useful. The landscape at scrum half remains curious.

Will Steve Borthwick bring Henry Arundell or other players to Italy?

It’s very hard to see Borthwick overreacting to his first game as there were encouraging aspects. However, whatever happens in their game against France, Italy will arrive at Twickenham with the intention of giving breadth and confidence for a first-ever victory over England.

Henry Arundell has only just returned for London Irish after several months off due to his foot injury. If there is a change in the back three it would be a surprise if he jumped ahead of Anthony Watson or Tommy Freeman. Raffi Quirke and George Ford, who were Sale Sharks starting halfbacks in the Premiership Rugby Cup last Friday, are also likely to need more time.

England's Henry Arundell breaks tackle from Australia's James O'Connor - England v Scotland Six Nations Q&A: Should England go further than Ben Youngs?  - Gary Day/AP

England’s Henry Arundell breaks tackle from Australia’s James O’Connor – England v Scotland Six Nations Q&A: Should England go further than Ben Youngs? – Gary Day/AP

England is hopeful that Courtney Lawes and Henry Slade will be reintegrated soon enough. Don’t forget that a group including Sam Simmonds, David Ribbans, Jack Willis and Manu Tuilagi trained with the squad all week. Willis scored in a narrow victory for Toulouse over Bayonne. He is clearly a very strong option in the back row. Others, such as Alex Mitchell and Cadan Murley, were released on Tuesday. Any refurbishment would start there.

Can someone explain why the forward pass for Scotland’s last try went unnoticed by the video referee?

Due to relative speed. The ball may have appeared to have moved forward from Matt Fagerson to Van der Merwe, but it came out of the former’s hands in a backward direction. This is how a legal pass is usually defined. The forward direction comes from Fagerson’s momentum. Lewis Ludlam’s scoring pass to Max Malins in the first half looked similar, albeit over a shorter distance.

How long before we see two Chessums in the English pack?

This certainly felt like a major performance from Ollie Chessum in what was his first Six Nations start. Steve Borthwick is clearly familiar with the 22-year-old from their time together at Leicester Tigers and locking him in allowed England to put together a relatively light and diligent back row that would be suitable for long kicking exchanges. Behind Ellis Genge, Chessum was probably the hosts’ most prominent carrier. Walking yet explosive, he was constantly eating up ground – and his fixed-piece heroics will not have been lost on Borthwick. Chessum, instead of Maro Itoje, crept behind England’s tight props – Kyle Sinckler and then Dan Cole – and was a go-to line-out jumper. He is also capable of switching to blindside flanker should Borthwick fancy a heavier pack against opponents such as France or South Africa.

Could there be two Chessums in that pack one day? Well, Lewis Chessum is the current England Under-20 captain and led his side to a stunning 41-36 victory over Scotland on Friday night at the Twickenham Stoop. Less than 24 hours later, Chessum junior was across the road to support his older brother. Lewis is taller than his sibling, which is quite impressive considering that Ollie is six feet tall and able. Keep an eye on Leicester, Nottingham, where he is on loan, and the Under-20 Six Nations to monitor his progress.

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