England star Ben Youngs has declared himself fit and ready for British and Irish Lions business after ending the domestic season in a blaze of title glory.
The Leicester scrum-half played a pivotal role as Tigers floored their fierce East Midlands rivals Northampton 37-17 at Twickenham.
He has spent the past fortnight concentrating on an Aviva Premiership semi-final and final while just over half of head coach Warren Gatland's 37-man Lions squad worked at training camps in Wales and Ireland. But the whole group assembled in London on Sunday ahead of departure for Hong Kong and then Australia, with Youngs and five Leicester team-mates making the trip.
"It has been strange," he said. "Not trying to think about the Lions has been very hard.
"But we have all come through injury-free, and we can now just crack on and really embrace it. The main goal for a lot of us is just to come back as better players. The feeling is one of real excitement. I can stop trying to ignore it now."
Youngs, his brother Tom, centre Manu Tuilagi, prop Dan Cole, lock Geoff Parling and flanker Tom Croft all made Gatland's selection cut, although the clash against Western Force in Perth on Wednesday week is likely to represent their first taste of tour action.
"Myself and my brother have both got some tremendous competition, but we are going to dive straight in and get on with it," Youngs added.
"I am looking forward to playing with some of the world's best.
"Australia are a world-class team, and they will make it as hard as they can for us, but we will blend together as quickly as we can. We've got tremendous coaches and players, and I am sure we have got a great chance down there."