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'I was picking his brains': Tom Youngs is nearly 7 years older than Leicester's latest recruit but the learning never stops

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

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Veteran skipper Tom Youngs didn’t want to be reminded this week that he turns 34 on Thursday, the day before Leicester return to Gallagher Premiership action when they host Sale in what will be their first match since the January 3 Mattioli Woods Welford Road win over Bath.  


What Youngs didn’t mind, though, was admitting how an old tiger can still be taught new tricks and that the recent arrival of Argentina hooker Julian Montoya, a 27-year-old with 63 caps, has been excellent in helping a player who won the last of his 28 England caps in 2015. 

Asked by RugbyPass how a well-experienced player who has been on the prowl in the Premiership since 2006 can still be learning, Youngs told the weekly Leicester media briefing: “It’s little things actually.

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New Sale boss Alex Sanderson guests on RugbyPass All Access
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New Sale boss Alex Sanderson guests on RugbyPass All Access

“You have got a broad horizon of being battle-hardened – you know you have played X-amount of games, you know what you have got to do to go through matchday, but it’s little technical things. 

“Scrummaging things, different binds, reads in the game, running lies sometimes. He [Montoya] might do something different. He is actually good over the ball so I was picking his brains about that. 

“Not that I’m suddenly going to become a ball threat or anything like that but it’s just actually getting his understanding of it can help you understand the game more in some regards and what he would need around him.


“You are always learning, lineout stuff, lineout throwing. Different bits and bobs really. It’s more the conversations you have, what you can pick out of a conversation is quite interesting.  

“The saying is you learn something new every day, so it’s always nice. Even if it is a conversation you have and suddenly you’re both saying the same things, it’s quite nice as you’re seeing it the same way which is quite good sometimes.”

Focusing on the head-to-head battle now set to unfold at the club following the arrival of Montoya, Youngs has no qualms about the pressure he is sure to come under, revealing that the Argentine has a Leicester connection going way back so he is more than welcome at the club.  

“He is a world-class player. He nearly came here in the academy, which is quite surreal, so he has always had a little twinkle in his eye towards Leicester, which is great to know. 


“He understands the club, he enjoys what it’s about it, has followed it for a long time. He wants to work hard and get better and if we can get more and more people like that in the place the better we will be.    

“He is an experienced player, 60-plus caps for his country and he has played a lot of rugby against some very good players. He has been around and has got some good thoughts on the game.  

“The day you don’t want to compete is the day you probably hang up the boots. It’s a great challenge for us hookers. He comes in and it does push you on.”


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