Ben Youngs says starting a British & Irish Lions Test alongside brother Tom means the world but the experience will be even sweeter if a series victory is secured on Saturday.
The pair will become the first set of siblings to start a Lions Test since 1989 when Gavin and Scott Hastings guided the tourists to glory in Australia.
Victory in Melbourne in the second international would see the Lions take an unassailable 2-0 series lead to Sydney and Youngs insists that has always been the squad’s sole focus.
“It means the absolute world to be playing alongside my brother. To be wearing a Lions jersey is so rare and unique so I’m not bored talking about it,” said Youngs, who replaces Mike Phillips in the starting XV at the Etihad Stadium.
“It’s going to be a very proud moment running on alongside Tom. I just really hope we can both put in a performance together and it will be extra special.
“I’m delighted to be involved. When Gats (head coach Warren Gatland) read out the team, I was sat there assuming nine wouldn’t really change. Everyone’s fighting for positions and everyone wants to play in the Tests. It’s nice to know you’ve got in on merit rather than injury influencing it.
“My only focus since I’ve been here is to perform well, to do the best I can to help the team win and obviously to be involved in the Test team. To get the opportunity to start is great – I’ve now got to repay that by putting in a performance.
“This group of players is tremendously driven. The professionalism and the understanding of what it takes to win is unbelievable. There’s great momentum now for Saturday: we’ve had two good games since the Brumbies loss. We’re 80 minutes away from making a little bit of history. Saturday can’t come soon enough for this group of players.”
Youngs will go head-to-head against one of the Qantas Wallabies’ key men at the weekend, with Will Genia looking to pull the strings once again for Australia.
The 25-year-old Reds star was in fine form at the Suncorp Stadium and Youngs expects more of the same this time around as the hosts look to bounce back from their first Test heartache.
“Will is the best nine in the world at the moment. He’s set a lot of the benchmarks for nines,” added Youngs.
“I really enjoy watching him play and to play against him will be fantastic. I thought he was exceptional again at the weekend.
“Australia as a nation, you know when they've got their backs against the wall they come out fighting, they only know one thing. They've got so much talent in their squad, even with a few injuries.”