LEICESTER Tigers hooker Tom Youngs admits it is an honour to follow in the footsteps of England captain Chris Robshaw after being named Premiership Rugby’s Player of the Season.
The 26-year-old’s stellar season was commended at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards last night – fighting off stiff competition in the form of Danny Care, Steve Borthwick, Christian Wade, Akapusi Qera and Tigers teammate Julian Salvi.
The only player in the 133-year history of the Tigers to have started games at centre and Hooker, Youngs’ successful positional switch has also been transferred to the international stage as England’s first choice no.2.
But saving special praise for throwing coach Simon Hardy, Youngs admits he wouldn’t be anywhere near the player he is today without the help of his fellow professionals and coaches at Leicester.
“I’m over the moon. It has been an unbelievable season for me and I’d like to thank all my teammates and coaches at Leicester who have helped me throughout the year,” said Youngs, receiving his award at the London Hilton, Park Lane.
“And I’d like to thank Simon Hardy my throwing coach who has been fantastic with me for the last three years as I have tried to get back to the Aviva Premiership.
“I didn’t really expect it but it is just fantastic. There are some great players there and to win against some greats is unbelievable – I can’t really put it into words.
“There are some great names who have won it in the past and obviously Chris [Robshaw] won it last year and he is a great bloke and a great mentor of the game and it is great to follow in his footsteps.
“I am very happy at hooker and I wouldn’t go back to centre. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I am now and it has been a fantastic change and I have enjoyed that process a lot.”
Along with brother Ben, the Youngs duo will become only the third pair of siblings to tour together in the last 100 years with the British and Irish Lions after both were selected by Warren Gatland.
And after grabbing his opportunity in an England shirt last Autumn, Youngs insists he is raring to do the same again out in Australia.
“To be called up to the Autumn international side was fantastic,” he added.
“Unfortunately Dylan got injured and I got my opportunity to start and it has been an amazing experience which I have really enjoyed.
“And now to go on a Lions tour is unbelievable and it is going to be a massive summer for me. It’s going to be a fantastic experience and one I will cherish.”
The Aviva Premiership Rugby final has sold out for the last five years. To snap up one of the remaining tickets go to ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 844 0444.