Youngs keen to stay on upward curve
August 27, 2010
Ben Youngs will be hoping to build on a successful 2009-10 this season © Getty Images
Ben Youngs had such a successful time last season that the Leicester Tigers scrum-half can't wait for the new Aviva Premiership campaign to kick off.
The 20-year-old seized his chance at both club and international level and after helping the Tigers to the Premiership title, he starred in England's post-season tour of Australia, scoring a solo try in their second Test victory over the Wallabies.
Youngs' mission is now to avoid the difficult second season syndrome as he looks to build prior to next year's World Cup. But negative thoughts are far from the youngster's mind as the Tigers look to defend their title.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "I'm back in the swing of things in training so I am feeling doubly ready and refreshed after a month off. I had a good season last year and to get selected to go on the tour was a nice way to finish and I had a great time in Australia. But it's a new season and I am fully focused on performing well for Leicester and putting in the hard work.
"I don't see myself as (England's) number one. I think the moment you think you are number one is the moment you lose it. The club comes first, I need to play well for the Tigers to have any hope of playing for England and I am taking it one step at a time.
"It was a massive honour to be selected [for the tour to Australia] and it was great fun and I really enjoyed it. To be part of that win in the second Test was brilliant and it will mean a lot to us as a side going forward."
Leicester, who have reached the last six Premiership finals, again start the domestic campaign as many pundits' favourites to carry off the title next May and Youngs is in no doubt as to the main factor in the Tigers' continued success.
The east midlands outfit have lost Harry Ellis, Ben Kay and Aaron Mauger to retirement, while talisman Lewis Moody has gone to Bath. But Youngs believs the retention of coaching duo Richard Cockerill and Matt O'Connor behind the scenes will be crucial to their continued success.
"It's simply down to hard work, no one wants to let anybody else down," he said. "We have world-class players in the squad but those guys have to work hard and get stuck in like any of the younger guys would. That is our mentality as a club and it shows out on the field."
"It's fantastic news to have them [Cockerill and O'Connor] in place and I am sure it can only help us to move forward. We will kick on I am sure. They set high standards of us as players and demand hard work. It's the same as it was, the different job titles haven't changed things and they are working everybody hard."
"The days of when one team dominated the championship are a thing of the past, I think it will be even closer next year." The Phil Vickery column
The 2014 Six Nations has been and gone and the tournament has been painted green. Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's talking points
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes