Youngs, who plays his club rugby for Leicester Tigers, started at No. 9 for the Red and Whites in this game, having had to wait for his chance to appear from the beginning with Alex Mitchell, the Northampton Saints scrum-half, Steve Borthwick’s first choice in France.
Speaking to ITV after the match, Youngs said: “I’m delighted the boys got the result. That was hard-fought, you know.
“There wasn’t much running in the legs that were trying to back up what was a huge effort last week, and we came out of the blocks, and we started, and didn’t quite get to our rhythm but we found a way. We’re pleased to end with a win and ultimately we wanted to be here tomorrow night, but we couldn’t and tonight is a nice win.
“The game’s given me so much. I’ve got huge friendships and bonds, not just in this England team and guys I’ve met and got to know for years, but people I’ve played against for years.
“Rugby is a special sport, you’ve got this bond and friendship, and I’ve got a bucketload of memories that will last long beyond my career. It’s given me a huge amount and I’m very, very grateful.
“Thank you to everyone, I’m pleased we were able to get the win, and I’ll have a beer and enjoy myself in the company of the boys one last time tonight.”
Courtney Lawes is another big name to bow out of international rugby, and he also made his final appearance in England white on Friday.
Speaking to ITV, the Northampton lock said: “It’s still a bit strange [to consider myself retired]. It’s been a weird week, but very content with my years of service and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where the team goes, pushing on for the future, and giving a really good crack next World Cup.
“[We need to improve our] cohesion; it’s the biggest thing for us. We’ve not spent a lot of time as a full coaching staff and full squad, so we’ve had five months to get where we have done, and we’ve got a bit more time to build hopefully, but we’ve got to take a step forward every time we get on that field.
“It’s a changing of the guard; the end of an era for a lot of us. Ben Youngs and Jonny May are the other official ones, but there may be a couple more. Unbelievable servants to the sport and England, and it was my privilege to play with a lot of these players.
“It’s back to the [club] grind, baby, I’ve got to get back on it.”
Pundit Ben Kay, who earned 62 caps for England between 2001 and 2009 said of Lawes: “The level of performance and consistency never drops with Courtney, and great teams have that. In 2003, we had Richard Hill, a similar sort of player that would always do a lot of the unseen work, but do it so well and to such a high level that some of the stars maybe benefit from that.
“The complete rugby player; at the line-out, he’s an absolute terror to the opposition, and on the floor, he competes like the best No. 7s in the world and making match-winning turnovers.
“What I’ve loved is seeing the improvement from a guy who was renowned for his defensive capabilities, to becoming one of England’s best ball carriers at times. He’s had everything.”
Theo Dan, the young hooker, also spoke to ITV about how England will use this tournament as a positive propeller to build momentum ahead of the upcoming Six Nations in February.
“[Building momentum into the Six Nations] is something we spoke about during the week,” Dan said.
“Obviously, we’re incredibly disappointed and we’re still heartbroken about what happened last weekend. The performance we put out was one that we can really be proud of and one that we said that we didn’t want to be a one-off. We want to build momentum and we want to be a new England team; one that doesn’t go away and grinds out results every week, and today was a step forward into achieving that.”
Sam Underhill, the Bath flanker, won player of the match, and said, as he was presented his award: “It’s a bit surreal. It’s been a great few weeks, I’ve loved being a part of this group for however long a period of time that is.
“It’s an honour to represent your country, and be with this group, especially sending off as many storied England players as we are, is amazing to be part of it.”
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