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Youngs' farewell speech: 'Wasn't a dry eye in the changing room'

By PA
(Photo by PA)

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Former England and Leicester hooker Tom Youngs has admitted that life can be cruel after calling time on his distinguished 15-year senior rugby career. Youngs, who had taken leave from the game this season to care for his wife Tiffany who is battling an illness, announced his retirement last week. The former Leicester captain was given a memorable send-off at Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership home game against Bristol, leading the team out for one last time after speaking to the players before kick-off.

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“I talked about how I’d love to do one more tackle and one more carry for them,” said Youngs, 35, who made 215 appearances for Leicester, as well as earning 28 Test caps for England and three for the British and Irish Lions on the 2013 tour of Australia. “I talked about Tiff a little bit, about life, that when you are in this moment and how good it is and how lucky you are sometimes.

“Then ultimately you don’t realise how cruel life can be at times, and to really enjoy those moments. There really wasn’t a dry eye in the changing room. It was lovely and will sit with me for a long time.”

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Youngs, who switched from centre to the front row, made his Leicester debut in 2006 and won the Premiership title in the 2012-13 season. He spent his career playing alongside his brother Ben, a scrum-half, at club and international level.

Youngs, who walked onto the Mattioli Woods Welford Road pitch on Saturday with his eight-year-old daughter, Maisie, said: “I was always going to retire this season. Obviously, things got accelerated and I wasn’t able to play anymore. As a professional you never know when you’re last game is, but I am very content with the decision.”

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Leicester have been revitalised since Steve Borthwick took charge in 2020 and the Tigers sit on top of the Premiership with two games of the regular season remaining. “The club’s been through a real tough time,” Youngs added. “We haven’t won anything yet, but we’re going in the right direction to do that.

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“It brings everyone together when you’ve gone through those tough times. There’s a good group of young players at the club and they’ve stepped up massively.”

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