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Youngs under no illusions about task

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Leicester Tigers club captain Tom Youngs says the club will take on the next block of Gallagher Premiership games ‘head-on’ over the Christmas period.

Youngs and Co host high-flying Exeter Chiefs this Saturday (December 21, 3.00pm) before a trip to Twickenham to face Harlequins in Round 7, and a New Year fixture with Bristol Bears at Welford Road.

And the hooker stressed the importance of breaking the season – the longest in recent memory – down into manageable ‘blocks’ of games, with the next three matches hot on the heels of back-to-back wins in European competition.

“We have to park it, and split the season up,” Youngs said. “If you treat the year as game after game after game, it would be never-ending, so we have to block the matches up.

“We’ve rotated the team nicely in the last two weeks against Calvisano, and now we’re charging into three big games in this Premiership block.

“Our last game in the Premiership wasn’t, we felt, a reflection of what we’re about, but we’ve addressed a few things and we’re ready for Exeter at home this Saturday, and then two big games after that.”

“We’ve got to take them on, head-on.”

Tom Youngs

Tigers have already faced the Chiefs at Welford Road this season, with Geordan Murphy’s men coming out on top with a bonus-point win in the Premiership Rugby Cup in September.

But Youngs explained that his side are under no illusions about how hard they must work to produce a repeat performance in Saturday’s Round 6 clash.

“The thing with Exeter is, they do what they do and don’t really change too much,” he continued.

“You know what’s coming – the hard thing is going about stopping it. We’ve got to take them on, head-on. We know that.

“We’re a physical pack as well, so when we play against a pack like Exeter we relish it, and that challenge can bring the best out of a lot of people.”

And while matching Exeter’s attacking threat will be a key factor in deciding the afternoon, maintaining some self-control, too, will be crucial if Tigers are to take some all-important Premiership points from the game.

Youngs added: “Discipline is always a priority, but even more so going into this weekend.

“Exeter are going to impose a lot of pressure on us. One thing I’ve touched on this week is our discipline, so as not to give them opportunities.

“If we can win some of those arm-wrestles in the key moments and get some pay off out of it, then that will be the key thing for us.”

Secure your place at Welford Road for Tigers’ final home game of 2019 from £30 for adults and £14 for Under-18s. Book in person at the ticket office, on 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or online using the link below.