Ben Youngs claims brotherly bragging rights as international pair return to club scene

Ben Youngs relished claiming bragging rights over older brother Tom as the duo were in attendance for a thrilling encounter between Chesterfield Panthers and Ollerton.

As part of England Rugby’s Play Together Stay Together scheme, the Youngs brothers spent time at Chesterfield and Ollerton this week, Ben at the former and Tom at the latter.

They were then on hand as the teams faced off, with Ben Hadfield’s late conversion crucial as Panthers fought from 12-0 down to win 19-17 in muddy conditions.

England men’s all-time appearance holder Ben Youngs was understandably thrilled at the turnaround but was just as happy to be getting a taste of grassroots rugby once again.

He said: “I’m just trying to catch my breath after an exhilarating finish. We were 12-0 down at half-time and the lads turned it around, a grandstand finish with ten minutes to go.

“The whole Play Together Stay Together campaign by the RFU, I was very proud to be part of that. To do it with Tom, it was good fun and epitomised what grassroots rugby is. It was a great, humbling thing to be involved in for me.

“The 23 players that take to the field for England against Ireland at Twickenham next week, all started somewhere at Sunday rugby.

“They all started at club level, all these clubs continue to produce players and to have the opportunity to come back, participate, help be part of their training sessions during the week and then game day, was something that I jumped at the opportunity to do.

“I enjoyed it, it’s been a great experience with a great crowd. I’ve enjoyed it, the boys have enjoyed it. We all play the sport because we love it, whether that is professional or amateur, so it’s been an enjoyable day.”

Ollerton enjoyed the better of the first half, leading 12-0 at the break and 17-12 heading into the final 10 minutes of the game.

But a try from Player of the Match Jason Rushton gave Chesterfield a chance to win the game, with fly-half Ben Hadfield making no mistake with a conversion from wide on the right with two minutes to go.

And even in tricky conditions, Youngs had total faith in the kicker to clinch the win.

He added: “They told me that he was a really good kicker, so it was never in doubt. Ben stepped up and I trusted the guys but fair play, because the conditions were a little bit soft underfoot to say the least. A draw would probably have been fitting but I’m not complaining about the fact that we sneaked it.”

Rushton was equally delighted at the way his side turned things around after a tricky opening 40 minutes.

He said: “It’s great to win, especially after that first half which was really tough. We were really up against it at half-time, so it was good to turn it around.

“The captain and coach rallied the boys and said that we’d put the graft in during the first half and we’d reap the rewards in the second half, and I think we did that.”

For former England and Lions hooker Tom Youngs, there was some disappointment at the late turnaround, but it did not detract from a special experience.

He added: “I was a bit gutted, but I thought they played so well, they really battled hard. It was a very spirited performance to come away from home and I thought they tackled extremely well. It was a great day, I loved it. I’ve loved the experience of the week, coming to help coach on Monday, really enjoyed the week.

“It’s such an important part of rugby. My journey was very different to a lot of people, and I know those experiences I’ve had.

“I’ve just had a beer in the changing rooms, and it brings back all those memories of when I was playing for North Walsham at 16 years old, to Nottingham to Bedford and then going forward. It was cracking and I’ve loved it.”

Play Together Stay Together is an England Rugby campaign to encourage people to get back into rugby. Want to get back to the action? Find your local rugby club using

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