Norfolk's Ben Youngs has backed his long-time rival Danny Care to step up on what would be his 100th appearance for England against Ireland this weekend.

Youngs, England men’s all-time record appearance holder, spent much of his international career battling Care for the England No9 jersey.

Having now retired, he believes the Harlequins scrum-half deserves a chance against Ireland to bring up his century.

“Given that it’s his 100th cap, at Twickenham, it’s a big game, you’d think that the occasion would bring out the best in Danny Care,” said Youngs.

“If he gets the nod, I think that would be very fitting. Danny absolutely deserves it. He should be incredibly proud of what he’s done and how well he has represented England for over a decade.

“To get 100 caps is no mean feat, it’s only a select few players who have been able to achieve that so he should be extremely proud. I wish him good luck and I’m sure he’ll enjoy the moment, as will his family in the crowd. It doesn’t just reflect his hard work, but also that of everyone else who has played a part in him doing this.”

Youngs will be keeping a close eye on selection decisions at scrum-half, with Ben Spencer having come off the bench at Murrayfield, while Alex Mitchell started the Six Nations before injury.

However, the Leicester Tigers scrum-half believes the key will be how England’s ball-carriers cope against Ireland’s ferocious breakdown jackals, rather than who is delivering the ball from the ruck.

“Ireland’s attacking breakdown is phenomenal, the speed that they get people into rucks and the speed of ball they produce," he said. "And then, vice-versa, for you they are extremely good at slowing you down. So, there will be a massive focus on our ball-carriers, various people like Ellis Genge, Ollie Chessum and Ben Earl to get England momentum but also to create and generate the quick ball to help the guys cleaning it to get rid of the (Josh) Van der Fliers and (Caelan) Dorises. You want to play with speed yourself and they are good at slowing it down.

“Our ball-carrying and ability to get rid of their jackal threats will be key. That allows the nine to play with tempo.”

Defeat to Scotland last time out leaves England all but out of title contention, but while Ireland head to Twickenham as favourites in their bid for successive Grand Slams, Youngs is confident his former team-mates can turn things around.

He added: “Given the disappointment of last week, being back at Twickenham with the best team in the Championship coming to your home, it’s a perfect scenario to bounce back. They will have to be at their best and knowing a lot of those guys as I do, I think they will look forward to the challenge.

“If they can play like they did in the first 20 minutes against Scotland, get the crowd behind them, Twickenham can be a very hard place for other teams to come so it can grow our team. If you’re in the England camp, it should be a very exciting week.”

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