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Youngs relieved to stay in frame

Tom Youngs has admitted it was a "relief" when Stuart Lancaster confirmed missing England's New Zealand tour would not affect his Rugby World Cup chances.

Leicester hooker Youngs was given dispensation to spend the summer looking after his ill wife Tiffany instead of touring New Zealand.

Youngs revealed head coach Lancaster immediately allayed any fears over future selection chances, telling him to focus on his family.

Now the 27-year-old is ready to repay Lancaster's backing, targeting a strong club campaign with Leicester and a return to England action in the autumn Tests.

"He understood the situation I was in, he realised it was best for me to go back and be with my family," Youngs told Press Association Sport.

"So I was extremely appreciative of that.

"To be fair if I had gone on tour, I think he would have known and I would have known that he wouldn't have got the best out of me because I would have been worried about things at home.

"So for him to say 'we're not going to judge you on this, it's important you stay at home and that's the best thing to do', that was fantastic and a relief."

Youngs helped Leicester to an impressive 24-20 Aviva Premiership victory at Exeter Chiefs last weekend, with the Tigers heading back to the west country to take on Bath on Saturday.

England boss Lancaster has been given extra time by the Premiership to delay naming his Elite Player Squad until October.

England's top stars are effectively auditioning through club performances then, and Youngs is itching to make his mark.

"It was great of Stuart and that does kind of sum him up: he's a good man, an honest kind of guy who understands families and how they work," said the Land Rover ambassador.

"He manages those situations really well, and he managed my situation incredibly well.

"So it was a big help.

"All those things that Stuart does, they help get the best out of the squad.

"Obviously you don't want to jeopardise your England chances, but then if you end up going on tour you probably end up not being able to concentrate fully on the rugby and not playing very well anyway.

"So then I was able to pick up at the start of the season with the summer camp at the end of August.

"Now I know I'm back in, back playing well for Leicester and that's great."

Youngs paid a visit to High Wycombe RFC to help youngsters with their final preparations for the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.

The Leicester front-rower vividly remembers World Cup winner Neil Back holding a coaching session at his junior club, and is keen to continue the tradition.

Youngs hopes England can capitalise on hosting next year's World Cup to boost the next generation's talent pool.

"I remember when I was about seven or eight Neil Back coming down to our club, and that was immense," he said.

"It was brilliant to have an England player come down to the club.

"It sticks with me now, the excitement of it all.

"And hopefully England players and club players doing similar things now can have a similar effect.

"Hopefully the World Cup will bring more interest and more people back into the game, which will be great."

:: Tom Youngs was speaking on behalf of Land Rover, official vehicle partner of Premiership Rugby and proud supporter of grassroots rugby festivals the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.


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