Youngs relieved to be still in contention for England

Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs has revealed that his “relief” at still being considered for selection for England after missing the June tour of New Zealand.

Youngs was given a special dispensation to stay in England in order to look after his ill wife Tiffany instead of travelling with England to New Zealand.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster told Youngs that being left behind in England has not impacted on his chances of playing for England.

“He understood the situation I was in, he realised it was best for me to go back and be with my family,” Youngs said Tuesday.

“So I was extremely appreciative of that.”

“To be fair if I had gone on tour, I think he would have known and I would have known that he wouldn’t have got the best out of me because I would have been worried about things at home,” he added.

“So for him to say ‘we’re not going to judge you on this, it’s important you stay at home and that’s the best thing to do’, that was fantastic and a relief.”

Lancaster has a crucial year ahead as head coach of the Rugby World Cup host team and has been given an extension by the 12 Premiership clubs to name his Elite Player Squad until October ahead of the November internationals.

Youngs played in Leicester’s 20-24 victory over Exeter in the Premiership on the weekend and still wants to add to his 17 Test caps to date.

“It was great of Stuart and that does kind of sum him up: he’s a good man, an honest kind of guy who understands families and how they work.

“He manages those situations really well, and he managed my situation incredibly well. So it was a big help.

“All those things that Stuart does, they help get the best out of the squad.

“Obviously you don’t want to jeopardise your England chances, but then if you end up going on tour you probably end up not being able to concentrate fully on the rugby and not playing very well anyway.

“So then I was able to pick up at the start of the season with the summer camp at the end of August.

“Now I know I’m back in, back playing well for Leicester and that’s great.”

The Leicester Tiger hopes that England and the Rugby World Cup in England next year will give the game a boost in the country and will inspire a new generation of players.

“I remember when I was about seven or eight Neil Back coming down to our club, and that was immense,” he told PA Sport.

“It was brilliant to have an England player come down to the club.

“It sticks with me now, the excitement of it all.

“And hopefully England players and club players doing similar things now can have a similar effect.

“Hopefully the World Cup will bring more interest and more people back into the game, which will be great.”

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