Untested Youngs could join brother on England's tour

 

Leicester's rookie hooker Tom Youngs could make his England debut before starting an Aviva Premiership match for his club after being pencilled in for the summer tour of South Africa.

England are seriously considering the 25-year-old brother of Tigers and England scrum-half Ben for the three-Test tour despite the fact that none of his 28 appearances include a Premiership start at hooker, although he has made 13 appearances off the bench.

The England coaches have been keeping a close eye on Youngs, the Tigers' third-choice hooker behind George Chuter and Rob Hawkins, and have been so impressed with his play and attitude that they do not consider him a gamble for a tour which also includes two midweek games.

If Youngs gets the nod it will signal a remarkable rise to the top for a player who was converted from a crash-ball centre by South Africa's new head coach Heyneke Meyer during his brief stint in charge of Leicester in 2008-09.

He spent two years learning his new trade at Nottingham in the Championship and, after missing three months of this season due to a back operation, he now has the chance to press his claims as Leicester bid for an eighth successive Premiership final because Hawkins is out with a broken elbow.

Richard Cockerill, Leicester's director of rugby and a former England hooker, thinks Youngs, who he compares to the Leicester enforcer Julian White in terms of his physical approach, is an international in the making and would be a good choice for the tour which starts with the first Test on 9 June.

But he warned that his line-out throwing was still a work in progress and that England must take that into account before deciding whether to pick him in the 40-man squad. "Whether he is quite ready to perform at that level I'm not sure," Cockerill said. "He has still got a bit to work on from a line-out point of view, but that is getting better all the time.

"But if the opportunity came, it would be a fantastic experience for him.

"I don't mind him going away with England at any level, as long as you know what you want from him and you don't go, 'Well his throwing is not quite up there yet,' and you write him off. When I pick him I know what I'm going to get and what I'm not going to get."

Asked if he would pick Youngs if he was England coach, Cockerill said: "It depends on what options they have. Dylan Hartley won't have played much, Lee Mears has injury issues and so do [Wasps'] Rob Webber and [Harlequins'] Chris Brooker. Tom may come into the top two or three hookers simply because of circumstances, which may give him an opportunity to prove himself.

"He may go and be a revelation, but there are still parts of his game, from a set-piece point of view, that he has not experienced yet. But that only comes with time.

"Physically, mentally, no problem. He is very committed physically, very tough. He makes every tackle and will carry the ball as hard as he can. Physically, he is in the Julian White mould in that he never backs away from confrontation, he enjoys that part of it. He is a good bloke.

"At the moment, he is a very good Premiership player. If he improves the technical bits, mainly his throwing, by 20 per cent, he is as good as anybody in England. He certainly could play for England, but he still has got to do that, and that's the key."

Only one player has played for England having made fewer starts for Leicester than Youngs' nine, full-back Harold Day (6) in 1920. And the only other Leicester brothers to play for England are the Underwoods, Rory and Tony.

Youngs, who at 5ft 9in and 16 stone and a veritable pocket battleship, insists he has not thought about South Africa. "I have only just got back from injury and I'm just concentrating on Leicester and the semi-finals and, hopefully a final," he said.

"Obviously it would be awesome to go, it's what you try and build yourself towards, but I don't know whether that's on the radar or not."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?