Rugby World Cup 2015: 50-cap Ben Youngs focused on getting England off to winning start against Fiji

Ben Youngs will win his 50th England cap when he runs out tonight to take on Fiji in the Rugby World Cup opener at Twickenham, but personal glory could not be further from his mind.

Stuart Lancaster’s England side are looking to hit the ground running in Pool A before do-or-die clashes with Wales and Australia that follow.

But do not think England are overlooking the Pacific Islanders – Wales slipped to defeat against them back in 2007 and this Fiji side are a team on the rise.

Currently ninth in the IRB world rankings, John McKee’s side have come on leaps and bounds from the team that were put to the sword 54-12 in their last meeting with England back in 2012 at Rugby HQ.

Six men who started that victory three years ago will start for England on Friday – captain Chris Robshaw, Joe Marler, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Geoff Parling in the pack and Brad Barritt in midfield.

And Youngs insists he and his teammates are more than ready to get their World Cup campaign underway.

“I am very pleased to achieve (50 caps), it is a wonderful honour to wear the jersey any time but to mark 50 with the opening game makes it very special,” said the scrum-half.

“Once my career is over I will look back and really understand what an achievement it is then, rather than where I am now.

“The focus is on Fiji, it’s not about anything else, going out as a team and making sure we perform.”

A lot of pre-match focus has centred on Fiji’s behemoth of a winger Nemani Nadolo, the Crusader who has torn up Super Rugby for the last two years.

But Youngs knows better than to look at the Fijians as a one-man band.

“They are a little bit of the unknown,” he added. “You watch their games and they can do the unexpected, Niko Matawalu at nine is a real handful, I’m obviously familiar with Niki Goneva at [Leicester Tigers] and then Nadolo, there are threats everywhere.

“We need to be watertight in defence and force errors out of them and make them play too loose really and we can capitalise on that.”

For the Fijians, Friday is a chance to turn the perceived wisdom in Pool A upside down and with talents like Nadolo, Matawalu and Leone Nakarawa familiar to British fans for their club exploits, they will take some stopping.

And head coach McKee is confident his side’s fearless approach will pay dividends.

“We know it’s a massive challenge ahead of us,” he said.

“England are a very strong side, if we let them they can dominate the game. The atmosphere I think will be great – it’s a big motivator for the players.

“We really focus on the things that we need to do in the game. It’s about the game. The opening ceremony is interesting but it’s a distraction.

“For us it’s a pool of opportunity to make our move in the competition. We’re looking to those games to take some scalps and progress to the play-offs. There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns in the pool.”

But while Fiji might sound confident, Youngs is adamant that England will not forget their lines on the big stage.

“England are ready to go, we have been ready for the last couple of weeks,” he said. “We are pleased it is so soon now, we have been chomping at the bit for a while.

“From moment we got back from New Zealand last summer we knew this was coming, it has been a long wait.

“There is a real edge about us, an intensity, an underlying excitement and I have no doubt that we will come out the blocks absolutely flying.”

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