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Rugby News

Youngs grounded ahead of Premiership challenge

Scrum-half Ben Youngs says the focus will be on Premiership points – and not just local rivalries – when Leicester Tigers go to Northampton on Saturday.

Fresh from back-to-back wins in European competition, Tigers take on a high-flying Saints in Round 5 of the Gallagher Premiership season on Saturday (November 30, 3.00pm) before home-and-away ties with Italian club Calvisano back in the Challenge Cup.

But Youngs, who starred in national colours as England went agonisingly close to a second Rugby World Cup title, explained the club are fully focused on improving their position in a congested domestic league table.

“Tigers versus Saints is always exciting, but this time we’ve got to approach it knowing that we need Premiership points,” he said. “You can’t get too emotional and over-excited about it.

“This is another Premiership game that we need to get points out of because we haven’t got as much as we would like out of the first four games.”

And he echoed older brother Tom in offering a glimpse inside the club’s Oval Park training base – and how Geordan Murphy’s men have tried to put Derby Day distractions aside ahead of Round 5.

“The most important thing is clarity in what you’re trying to do and how you’re trying to play,” Youngs continued. “Once you’ve got that, as we’ve been building in the week, you can build up the emotion.

“If you have the emotion without clarity then you’ll run out of steam pretty quick and won’t know where to put your energy.

“Making sure that we nail down the detail early in the week means we can combine the two together nicely on Saturday.”

Youngs lines up alongside George Ford at half-back for the trip to Franklin’s Gardens in direct opposition to Wales fly-half Dan Biggar and Cobus Reinach who was part of the Springboks squad that lifted the World Cup in Yokohama.

The England scrum-half added how Tigers’ international players – with all six England men included in Saturday’s starting team – must add real value to the team's efforts.

He said: “We have a real responsibility. We want to come back and add something straight away, and while we had an opportunity to do that against Pau a couple of weeks ago, we want league points.

“We need some consistency in how we play and we’ve won two on the bounce now – the first time we’ve done that for a while – but we need league points, there’s no hiding away from that.

“I think it’s important that myself and all the international boys who are back and fitting back into that team can add something and keep that consistency of performance.

“As soon as we can get some momentum in the league, we’ll start climbing the ladder. I’m very eager to get back into it.”