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Physical contest was among Tom's highlights

Tom Youngs has fond memories of the intensity expected in European competition
Tom Youngs has fond memories of the intensity expected in European competition

Tom Youngs says a previous meeting of Leicester Tigers and this week’s European Challenge Cup Final rivals Montpellier remains one of his favourite games.

Tigers hooker Tom and his brother Ben are the only survivors in the squad of the last time the two teams met, in the pool stages of the Champions Cup back in December 2013, and not just because he scored a try.

Seven-and-a-half years on, the club captain remembers the occasion well and says: “It is one of my favourite games. They had such a massive pack with guys like Gorgodze, Watchou… and I just loved that physical battle in that stadium and that atmosphere.”

After Youngs – who took his current season’s tally to five with a try in the win over Harlequins on Saturday – dotted down from a forward drive in that last encounter in Montpellier in a game sealed by a last-minute score from Vereniki Goneva which was converted by replacement fly-half Ryan Lamb.

Looking ahead to this Friday’s Final at Twickenham, Youngs said: “Montpellier have a great squad. They are a very good side, they’re not in the final for no reason.

“They beat Toulouse the other week who are having a very good season and it will be a massive challenge, but we are looking forward to it. And it will be great to have some fans there, you miss that buzz around the game.

“This tournament has been a massive experience for the squad. We hadn’t won in France for a long time before we went to Bayonne and that was huge for the guys. James Whitcombe made his debut there, others had their first European rugby experience. It was a fantastic effort especially for guys with limited experience, but when we got back into Oval Park there was no getting ahead of ourselves. There is still a lot of work to do.

“We’d never played against Connacht, then we had Ulster at home in the semi-final, they are all massive experiences. Even if you’re not involved on the gameday, as a player it is good to experience the week as well. That is important.”