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Ayerza stunned by Youngs' England omission

Marcos Ayerza is stunned England can afford to overlook “world-class” hooker Tom Youngs for the RBS Six Nations.

Leicester hooker Youngs was omitted from new England head coach Eddie Jones’ first Elite Player Squad (EPS), with rival Dylan Hartley taking the Test captaincy.

Saracens’ Jamie George and Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie complete England’s hooking stocks. England will open both the Six Nations and Jones’ tenure by facing Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, and seasoned prop Ayerza has questioned the wisdom of dropping Leicester team-mate Youngs.

“Tom is a world-class player and England have decided to take the luxury of not including him,” Ayerza said. “I cannot believe the decision, to leave out a world-class hooker who works so hard.

“Some of the hookers they have picked, they are not so rated by the best front-rowers in the world. Around the park, working, tackling, Tom’s one of the best in the world.

“It’s very tough. There’s a big question mark from us as to why this has happened, this selection policy.”

Third-placed Leicester host Sale in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership action, with Ayerza admitting Youngs’ unexpected presence will prove a significant bonus. The 65-cap Pumas prop is regarded among the world’s foremost front-rowers, and tipped Youngs to force his way back into England’s plans.

Ayerza was also at pains to point out that Youngs himself has not questioned Jones’ selection, but merely redoubled efforts on his return to Leicester.

“He’s strong, he loves scrummaging, that aspect of his game,” said Ayerza. “He’s an all-round player I think. You can argue maybe his lineout throwing is not always 100 per cent accurate.

“But that’s the only aspect of his game that could be scrutinised. It’s harsh to leave him out, when he’s one of the best around. Tom hasn’t questioned the decision though. He has just put his head down and carried on working, to fight to regain selection to the England camp.

“For us it’s tough to lose players during the Six Nations. Having Tom available for us will only boost us, his presence on the pitch will be very important. It’s a loss for England but for us it’s a huge gain, a key player, especially for this period.”

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