Rugby Union

Ben Youngs excited by Bath challenge

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New Leicester Tigers captain Ben Youngs is excited about the challenge of facing Bath at the weekend as both sides look to preserve their 100 per cent records.

Youngs, who inherited the captaincy following Ed Slater’s knee surgery, has led the Tigers to two wins in their opening games as they look to go one better than last season's playoff semi-final appearance.

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The scrum-half scored a significant try at Exeter Chiefs last weekend as Leicester came away with a 24-20 victory.

Speaking at a grassroots rugby event in High Wycombe, organised by Land Rover, the 25-year-old acknowledged Bath are likely to be a different challenge from last season.

He said: “They have obviously strengthened their squad again. Guys like George Ford who continues to get better with the more games he plays, so its going to be a big challenge for us its one we are looking forward to.”

The east-midlands club will have to be on full alert as they travel to The Recreation Ground. George Ford is currently top of the points scorers list in the Aviva Premiership, with 37 points. He kicked 18 points during Bath’s 53-26 demolition of London Welsh.

Brothers in arms

Tigers hooker Tom Youngs – brother of Ben – who was also present at the grassroots event, looked at the game from a forwards point of view.

“I think bath have a very good pack," he said. "They're very strong up front, they’re good mauling from line outs so I think we’ve got to be on it, we want to able to match fire with fire.”

Something has to give, as both sides look to stretch their record to three wins on the bounce and the Tigers will hoping to avoid a repeat of last seasons game when they suffered a 27-20 defeat in Bath.

The 2015 World Cup is fast approaching

Taking their attention away from the Aviva Premiership, the Young brothers took a moment to talk about the World Cup.

With the tournament coming to home soil next summer it is hard for players not to have international selection on their minds.

Ben, who has scored six tries for England in 36 games, admits it is difficult not to think about the tournament: “It’s going to be a huge spectacle and you want to take part in it, you certainly don’t want to be distracted by it but its certainly on your mind.”

Having been part of the 2011 World Cup squad in New Zealand, the younger Youngs brother believes that changing the date of the elite squad announcement has helped inexperienced players stake a claim for a place in the side."

The 25-year-old said: “Being named in October it certainly gives everyone the best chance, it used to be in July, some guys haven’t even played a game and they are being selected. It’s really important that everyone knows they’ve got an opportunity of making the squad its just about performing within your club.”

Tom, who has made 17 appearances for the national side since making his debut in 2012, believes places in the squad are available to anyone, regardless of previous experience.

The 27-year-old said: “Anyone has got the potential to make the world cup squad, if you have a fantastic season this year, a young lad, whatever you are, you open the door up and Stuart will probably end up selecting you or at least be having a look at you.”

There is a lot of rugby to be played before Stuart Lancaster picks his squad, but the brothers will be hoping that domestic form can push them in to the forefront of the coaches plans.

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Rugby Union
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