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Rugby News

Ben excited by European opportunity

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Leicester Tigers scrum-half Ben Youngs has described the European Challenge Cup as a ‘great opportunity’ for the club.

Tigers booked a place in the knockout stages of the competition with five wins from six pool games, and after tournament organisers EPCR cancelled Saturday’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final with Castres Olympique, the men from Leicester now travel to Toulon on Saturday (September 26) in the final four.

And now, after a confidence-boosting win over Northampton Saints in Youngs’ 250th club appearance last time out, the England international has discussed the excitement around the club at the challenge.

“Europe just gives us that fresh start, and you’re not playing three European games in eight days,” he smiled, referring to a tough Premiership schedule in recent weeks.

“You’ve got a full week to prepare for it and you’re doing everything to get your best squad out there.

“What the change in competition does is freshen us up and allows us to go after something that we haven’t been able to get after for a couple of seasons now.

“Europe is the one cup that we can really get after this season, so I think it’s good for us. It’s a different challenge, and it’s something to get excited by.”

After showing improvement under a new-look coaching team led by Steve Borthwick, the squad will have the chance to make further progress on a different stage this weekend.

Youngs added: “This club has been hugely successful, and that’s why when the team hasn’t been doing well in the last couple of years it has been highlighted even more, because it is uncharacteristic of a club like this, and because people aren’t used to it.

“But that’s sometimes how it goes, and we now have to do the building blocks to get back up, and it takes time, but we’ll get there.

“We’ve got another opportunity at the weekend – and that’s what is. Another opportunity.

“We’ve got a lot of experience inside this team to look forward to this, the freshness of a European [semi-final], and it’s a great opportunity that I’m excited to be a part of.”