Leicester Tigers chief left ‘gobsmacked’ by omission of Tom Youngs from England squad
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill says he was left ‘gobsmacked’ by the omission of Tom Youngs from England’s squad for the Six Nations.
The Norfolk-born hooker started all of England’s matches in their unsuccessful World Cup campaign last year but has been overlooked by new head coach Eddie Jones.
The Australian – a former hooker himself – has left out the 28-year-old and recalled Dylan Hartley, with Saracens’ Jamie George and Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie providing the competition.
“Gobsmacked, amazed, stunned, all of that, for the simple reason that it came out of the blue,” said Cockerill. “It’s obviously disappointing. Factor in that two of the hookers named (Hartley and Cowan-Dickie) haven’t been playing because of injury.
“So, it was a major surprise, that’s for sure. It’s disappointing because we all know here at Leicester just how well Tom has been playing. If it is form you are considering, then Tom is right up there alongside the other hooker named, Jamie George.”
The former Holt and North Walsham junior player has 28 caps to his name and also toured Australia with the British & Irish Lions in 2013.
“Tom encapsulates what Leicester is all about – his attitude, his work ethic, in training, on the field, around the club,” Cockerill told the Telegraph. “He gives 100%, all of time and has a big influence on the group. His moral compass is very finely-tuned, he knows what is right and what is wrong.
“You should never underestimate what that sort of presence means. I’m amazed Eddie doesn’t want to see that at first-hand. He will captain our team against Treviso on Saturday and he will walk down that corridor before kick-off bristling with intent.”