O'Connor rates Youngs as top dog

21 April 2017 06:23:57 EST

Leicester Tigers' head coach Matt O'Connor rates Ben Youngs as the pre-eminent scrum-half in the world.

The 27-year-old has been a vital part of the England squad ever since he made his debut against Scotland in 2010 and was named in the British and Irish Lions' 41-man group to tour New Zealand.

If you want to beat the All Blacks, you will need guys who are going to challenge the defensive line and create for others.

Matt O'Connor

Although Youngs has struggled at times this season in a Tigers shirt, O'Connor believes that he is the best in his position.

"I would rate him number one," he said. "Historically, he's delivered for me and he's delivered in the last two weeks.

"If you want to beat the All Blacks, you will need guys who are going to challenge the defensive line and create for others and he's as good as there is.

"We know how dangerous he is to have him playing on instincts and executing like he did against Newcastle last week; it's fantastic for him and fantastic for the team."

Youngs' try helped the Tigers beat Newcastle Falcons 30-3 and move four points clear in the last play-off position. With tenth-placed Sale Sharks their next encounter, O'Connor is looking to build on that performance.

He added: "It's about what we do. It's about how we approach it, the opposition is less significant at this point in time and we've got to make sure we can control what we can control.

"If we can keep putting teams under pressure like we did at stages against Newcastle and then execute when we get the chances, we will be alright.

"The place is pretty healthy and I think if we can keep refining what we're doing and keep driving the bits around the environment, we will be in a pretty good place."

The Tigers are 12/1 to win the Aviva Premeirship Grand Final this season, with Exeter Chiefs 8/11 and Wasps 11/10.

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