Youngs to set rugby record as England lines up against Wales

Ben Youngs at Gresham's in Holt on Prep School Speech Day. Picture: Chris Taylor

Ben Youngs at Gresham's in Holt on Prep School Speech Day. - Credit: Chris Taylor

North Norfolk's own Ben Youngs is poised to break the record for England men’s rugby appearances.

The 32-year-old, who lives near Aylsham and went to Gresham's School in Holt, will become England’s most capped male rugby player when he lines up in the Six Nations fixture against Wales tomorrow (Saturday, February 26).

The game will give Youngs, a scrum-half, his 115th cap, surpassing the record currently held by Jason Leonard.

England's Ben Youngs

England's Ben Youngs. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ben Youngs during a coaching session at Gresham’s Prep School in 2017.

Ben Youngs during a coaching session at Gresham’s Prep School in 2017. - Credit: Supplied by Gresham's

Ben Youngs, Richard Brearley and Tom Youngs at Gresham’s Speech Day 2018, when the brothers attended as special guests.

Ben Youngs, Richard Brearley and Tom Youngs at Gresham’s Speech Day 2018, when the brothers attended as special guests. - Credit: Supplied by Gresham's

Youngs, who played rugby for Gresham's during his schooling from 1996 to 2005, said he looked back on those days with find memories. 

He said: "I am very grateful to the school for starting my rugby journey.”

Douglas Robb, Gresham’s headmaster, said: "Many congratulations to Ben on this fantastic achievement.

Ben Youngs playing rugby as a child.

Ben Youngs playing rugby as a child. - Credit: Supplied by Gresham's

"The record speaks for itself but more than just an outstanding rugby player, Ben is a terrific role model for our young people.

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"The whole Gresham's family are proud of this landmark achievement, but more importantly we are proud of him as a person.”

Ben Youngs climbs highest as Freddie Steward roars in celebration after scoring for England against

Ben Youngs climbs highest as Freddie Steward roars in celebration after scoring for England against South Africa during the Six Nations. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Following his GCSEs, Youngs joined the Leicester Tigers Academy and played for the England U16, U18 and U20 teams before making his Senior England debut in 2010.

His dad Nick and brother Tom also attended Gresham's and went on to play rugby for Leicester Tigers and the national team, and family's achievements continue to inspire young platers at his old school. 

Ben and Tom Youngs at Gresham's on Prep School Speech Day. Picture: Chris Taylor

Ben and Tom Youngs at Gresham's on Prep School Speech Day. - Credit: Chris Taylor

Old school magazines show Youngs' talent was clear from his early years.

Reporting on the U14A team at the time, one coach said: “Ben has the speed necessary to cut open defences and scored many a try using his twinkling feet. It must also be said that Ben has a feel for the game, which means that he usually makes the correct decisions.”

Richard Brearley, Gresham's former rugby coach and deputy headmaster, said: "This is a magnificent achievement from a wonderfully talented rugby player.

"It is his electric pace, competitive spirit and determination that I remember about him at Gresham's. He was a match-winner who was a pleasure to coach and I have thoroughly enjoyed following his career with Leicester Tigers, England and the Lions."