Men Behind the Tour: No.13 – Tom Youngs

Tom Youngs began last season having never started a league game in the No.2 shirt. [more]

Men Behind the Tour: No.13 – Tom Youngs

Tom Youngs began last season having never started a league game in the No.2 shirt.

But the Leicester Tiger found himself starting the first British & Irish Lions Test against Australia – quite a whirlwind 12 months for a farmer.

The Kassam Stadium was where it all started for centre-turned-hooker Youngs as he took his place in the Leicester Tigers’ front-row as they beat Premiership new-boys London Welsh 38-13.

And the 26-year-old didn’t look back, helping Leicester get their hands back on the English rugby’s top prize, picking up the Premiership Player of the Year award along the way.

However Youngs wasn’t done there as he marked his first season as hooker in style as he travelled Down Under to write his name in Lions folklore alongside younger brother Ben – the first siblings since Scott and Gavin Hastings 20 years ago to feature together in a Lions’ Test match.

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Tom found himself handed the famous No.2 red jersey for the first and second Tests, while he came off the bench to see Warren Gatland’s men home in the third and final clash.

All of this would be a bit much for anyone, let alone someone who feels most at home on his family’s arable farm in Norfolk.

And Youngs admitted it would take a while to sink in, but was not about to pretend that he had gone from rookie hooker to Lions winner all by himself.

"It's been a ridiculous year and it has been difficult for it to sink in, because as you go from game to game, you don't get time to think about it," said Youngs.

"When I get my down time, it was will sink in and I will probably say to myself, 'Yeah, that was a pretty special season'.

"Lots of people have been important in that, and have always been there for me. Glenn Delaney, at Nottingham, was great when I was playing there and learning my trade.

"Then there are the players at Tigers, like George Chuter, who was just outstanding with me, and the likes of Dan Cole and Boris Stankovich, too. I used to stand over their shoulders and watch them scrummage, asking them questions all of the time.

"Even if it was the most stupidest question in the world, they wouldn't laugh, they would just help me out.

"Then there is Geoff Parling, running the line-out and helping me to get an understanding of that. I have learned a lot from these guys" 

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