Ben Youngs has vowed to make the most of England’s tour of South Africa a year on from pulling out of the British and Irish Lions’ series with New Zealand due to his sister-in-law’s battle with cancer.
The Leicester Tigers scrum-half withdrew from the Lions’ squad after his brother Tom’s wife Tiffany was informed her cancer was terminal.
Following a four-year fight against the disease, Tiffany is now in remission, her battle inspiring Youngs as he bids to help England win a Test series in South Africa for the first time.
“Being around her for so long certainly puts rugby in perspective,” Youngs said.
“You realise how important times are and I will make sure I enjoy the next few weeks being here and being part of this team. And hopefully we can do something special.”
England coach Eddie Jones has been the subject of criticism for training that has been described by some as overly intense.
Hands up if you love a dummy?
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) June 5, 2018
But Youngs rejected that critique, praising England’s preparation ahead of the first Test in Johannesburg on Saturday.
“The first game is so important, especially being the touring party, you don’t want to take the wind out of your sails after game one,” he added.
“We’ve had a great preparation in the two weeks building up to this and we want to make sure we are there physically but also tactically. Perhaps previous touring teams haven’t been – so we have to be really smart about how we take on the Springboks.
“You want to prepare yourself for the weekend and in order to do that you need to make sure you are intense about what you do. And with everyone contributing in the last few weeks we’ve been able to do that.
“The guys showed up on Monday last week after the [Premiership Rugby] final and everyone just ripped in straight away.
“So it is unbelievably exciting about the challenge ahead but also we are also really excited about trying to get out there and play our game.”
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta