AAP Rugby

Youngs responds to To’omua World Cup jibes

By AAP Newswire

England's Ben Youngs has returned serve at his former Wallabies clubmate Matt To'omua in the tongue-in-cheek sledging contest that has emerged on the eve of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

To'omua added levity to proceedings on Thursday when asked to describe the strengths and weaknesses of five England players who hail from Leicester, where the Australian utility back has served for the last three years.

Rather than highlight their on-field characteristics, a smiling To'omua ran the rule over some off-field traits.

"I know all their weaknesses luckily, and I have been telling everyone," he said.

"Manu (Tuilagi) is a terrible snooker player, George Ford never pays for a beer, Ben Youngs isn't even the best rugby player in his family, let alone the country. The chicken, Jonny May, very weird and Dan Cole doesn't have a personality."

Veteran halfback Youngs had his right of reply on Friday, telling journalists he found the sledge aimed in his direction ironic.

The younger brother of Leicester and England hooker Tom Youngs, he said it was rich for To'omua to make the jibe given he is the husband of Ellyse Perry, whose profile arguably exceeds his.

Perry is one of the world's finest women cricketers and has also starred in international soccer, representing Australia at the 2011 World Cup.

"I thought it was ironic, he knows what it's like to play second fiddle especially being married to Ellyse Perry, so I feel for him. He knows my pain," Youngs said.

To'omua sent Youngs a clip of his press conference performance and the Englishman admitted some of the description was close to the truth, particularly the stingy assessment of star five-eighth Ford.

"He's not far wrong on some of it.

"Fordy's never bought a pint because he's normally smoke bombed by that point or probably too drunk. He's actually left the building."