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Ben takes it all in his stride

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Hot on the heels of Matt Smith reaching 200 appearances, Ben Youngs equalled that feat in the match against Bath at Twickenham. Both, of course, are sons of former Tigers players and came all the way from academy level to multiple Premiership champions.

Smith and dad ‘Dosser’ total more than 530 games for the club, while the two generations of the Youngs now total 470-plus. That’s 1,000 first-team games in just two families!
The Tig remembers seeing Ben playing 'A' League rugby and predicting great things. This does not make The Tig a genius.

Ben’s speed off the mark and a cheeky ambition on the ball were evident from day one. We also recall his senior competitive debut in the closing seconds of a game at Bristol in the 2006/07 season. A few weeks later he was used off the bench in the Premiership Final win over Gloucester but was denied much more than a sniff of the champagne after receiving his medal because he was still an under 18.
He had played in five Premiership Finals before his 25th birthday, taking home a winner’s medal on four occasions.
After making his debut as an emergency wing replacement against Scotland, he now has 70 caps for England, sharing in successive Six Nations championship titles, and became a Lion in 2013, making the squad alongside his brother Tom for good measure, before gaining a second call this summer.
There have been many memorable moments and notable achievements along the way, though for The Tig, the day that Ben came of age had nothing to do with Cup Finals, England or the Lions. It was a midweek evening at Welford Road, in a game with neither points nor cup progress at stake.

Starting at scrum-half against world champions South Africa – with Aaron Mauger at 10 – Youngs was entrusted with frontline kicking duties for the only time in his senior career.
His first kick was as ugly as it could get. But it did not worry him, or maybe he just did not let it show, as he kicked the rest of his attempts and Tigers eked out a memorable win in front of a packed house to mark the official opening of the new main stand.
The night’s memories may have been built on the grit of the Tigers forwards on a night when Martin Castrogiovanni had told them “no one comes here and takes our home record” and Lucas Amorosino grabbed the headlines the vital try, but it was Youngs who was the match-winner.
At times it may look like it all comes so easily to Ben, in contract to older brother Tom who had to reinvent himself as a hooker and learn his trade away from the Premiership glare before eventually hitting the top step, but that would be disrespectful of the work a professional has to put into his game.
It’s been a privilege watching him grow as a Tiger, as an international and a Lion. And at 27, there should be many more years to come.