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Tour place is hard earned and richly deserved

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Congratulations to Ben Youngs and Dan Cole on their richly-deserved call-up to a second Lions tour this summer. 

Cole is the most consistent of props, almost unique in Test rugby in his 80-minute shifts in the front row week after week, while Youngs is at the heartbeat of the Eddie Jones England template, playing with eyes up, keeping opposition defenders on their toes and team-mates on their mettle.
At Tigers we have always known their quality. Cole had to come past Julian White and Martin Castrogiovanni to claim the tighthead jersey and he has barely looked back in 170 first-team appearances, plus 74 for England and in three Tests for the Lions in Australia four years ago.
Tigers representation is down on last time – but one up on the initial selection for 2009 before Tom Croft gained a call-up alongside Harry Ellis – but that fact merely reinforces the quality and the form of the chosen pair. Manu Tuuilagi, presumably, would have made it a trio as Warren Gatland would see him as tailormade as a powerhouse carrier with an ability to play at 12 or 13.
Seasons following a Lions tour are notoriously tough, but Tigers have a decent record of managing their players and The Tig is sure Youngs and Cole will be treated well when they find their feet back on club duty in the autumn.
By that stage Ellis Genge should have added to his solitary England cap with appearances on the two-Test tour to Argentina.
The tour should be the perfect place for Genge to further his education in the front row, with Pumas priding themselves on their qualities there, while we already know all about his ability around the field.
A young man with just 35 appearances for the club is already being tipped for a huge future in the red, white and green, and The Tig is not alone is relishing the prospect of seeing him grow into the role in the same way a young man from Argentina did just a decade ago.