Tom Youngs and Leicester returned to training last week, but as they prepare to kickstart their Gallagher Premiership campaign he’s spoken to the media on his farmyard workouts, looking forward to working with a World Cup winner and being a rugby ‘traditionalist’.
Youngs picks up farmyard regime
Upon being furloughed, and with schools shut for his daughter, Tom Youngs headed back to the family farm to get some relaxing routines going, but found working on on the farm was a fun way to keep motivated.
“We decided to get out of Leicester and go back to the farm. I made a joke of it testing my retirement plan. It’s nice to get back training and into a normal week. Working on the farm gave me a schedule.
“I took the time to freshen up mentally, but you get some tractor tyre flips and some sledgehammer hits. You can make some good sessions out of chopping wood.”
Forwards to regain power in key areas…
“I haven’t lost too much weight, but you lose bulk around your neck and the load for your Achilles and calves for scrummaging. Those are very important for me to build up nicely. Most guys would lose a little weight, but luckily we can get in now. Some guys may not do much running due to weight loss, so they’ll do more weights.”
Wage cuts just rugby doing its bit for self-sufficiency
“I think it’s a difficult time for everyone, every business is being stressed massively. We want to help the club and Premiership Rugby are doing their bit. Rugby is going to change, they’re looking at season structure and I can only imagine positive things coming out of it.
“Everyone is in different circumstances. Some guys still have some questions, but we’re back training and working hard to play rugby again.”
The wage cut discussions have led to some player receiving legal action, but Youngs has a key message for younger players.
“It’s been very testing. That’s from top down. The best thing you can always do if get everybody in one room and explain it, people can ask questions, and it’s very difficult when you can’t do that.
“I’ve always wanted to protect the younger lads. I’m at the latter stage of my career, whatever happens, happens. Those guys are at the front of theirs [careers]. One thing I did say to them is you’ve got to sort out what you’re going to do after rugby. What can you do degree wise, what can you go and study.
“It’s a great example of how vulnerable it can be, and how things can change. Salaries aren’t going to be what they have been for ‘x’ amount of time.
Crowds back at the games?
There have been reports of crowds possibly being allowed back earlier for the Premiership. Youngs believes it would give his side a huge boost.
“It would be massive. A game of rugby is always even better when the crowd is cheering away. We’ve all talked about getting your head around playing with no fans. We’d all like to get crowds in there.”
Working with Steve Borthwick and a World Cup winner
England lineout extraordinaire Steve Borthwick will link up with the Tigers from July 1 along with South African fitness guru Aled Walters. Youngs explains why they’ll both help push Leicester back up the table.
“He will [Borthwick] bring a real edge to us. If you look at the England pack, the way they perform, the way they play, he brings that edge to a group and an understanding. He’s one of the best coaches in the world, which is fantastic and exciting.
“I’ve had the odd phone call with him just talking about Leicester.”
“[Aled]’s not in until July as well. We’ve been doing some running sessions, whether or not those are from him, I don’t know. I’m very excited to work with him, South Africa were in some nick going into the World Cup.
“They [running sessions] are different, they’re a lot more rugby specific, and it’s been a tough last week. I walked through the door last Monday and my wife hadn’t seen me so bad. Tough is good and you know it’s working towards the rugby specific identity we want to play.”
Youngs a rugby ‘traditionalist’
With the chat of a global season, alignment and summer rugby, Youngs discussed why he doesn’t mind playing through the winter.
“We’re all athletes. Whatever conditions there are, you have to deal with them. We do pre-season in the heat. I’m a traditionalist, I like playing at The Rec when it’s wet. At the same time if the game has to explore other options then so be it.
“Main photo credit”