England coach ‘cant wait’ for Norfolk hooker Tom Youngs to find full fitness with Leicester Tigers

England rugby coach Graham Rowntree takes a training session at Norwich Rugby Club.Picture by SIMON

England rugby coach Graham Rowntree takes a training session at Norwich Rugby Club.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree has admitted he 'can't wait' for Norfolk hooker Tom Youngs to return to international duty.

England rugby coach Graham Rowntree takes a training session at Norwich Rugby Club.Picture by SIMON

England rugby coach Graham Rowntree takes a training session at Norwich Rugby Club.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The former Holt and North Walsham junior player missed all of England's autumn internationals because of a shoulder injury picked up in September, following on from missing the summer tour of New Zealand because of personal issues.

But the British & Irish Lions forward returned to Aviva Premiership action with Leicester Tigers last weekend and is due to start again tomorrow in a European Rugby Champions Cup with Toulon at Welford Road.

That is great news for Rowntree, who was the special guest for Norwich Rugby Club when he led the club's pre-match training on Thursday night.

Youngs will start alongside another recovering England forward, prop Dan Cole, with the pair amongst a host of top forwards, such as Geoff Parling, Mako Vunipola and Alex Corbisiero, missing for England recently because of injury.


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Youngs' brother, scrum-half Ben, also returns for Leicester tomorrow having forced his way into England's starting line-up for the victories over Samoa and Australia.

And Rowntree, speaking at Norwich's Beeston Hyrne base, said of the Norfolk brothers: 'Two of my favourite players, thoroughly good people. It's all about their character, they're an absolute pleasure to coach. We missed Tom this series with his shoulder injury and he's had a lot of other stuff going on – I can't wait to have him coming back.

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'From my point of view we've played the autumn series with eight forwards missing – they'll all be fit imminently, so we have some real selection headaches.

'We capped Tom two years ago after less than 10 games for Leicester at hooker (after converting from centre) because we could see a lot of potential in the kid and he's not let us down. He played in a Lions series, who'd have thought that?

'I've known him since he was an academy player at Leicester and I'm a big fan, he's a good character.'

Norwich chairman Steve Henson had met Rowntree on several occasions in recent years and managed to get the former Leicester and England prop to agree to a coaching session.

Ahead of this afternoon's home clash with fellow London Two North East hopefuls Campion, it proved an inspiring night for the Norwich players.

'We did some breakdown work early on, a bit of evasion, we split the forwards and backs, I took the pack and did some set-piece, mauling, lineouts and scrum, it was good,' Rowntree said of the session.

'I enjoy imparting all my knowledge. Hopefully they've learned something. I love doing it (grassroots coaching) as well because obviously the pressure is less but from my end of the game, the forwards, it's important the safety is taught and honing in on that aspect of safe scrummaging, safe breakdown, but I really enjoy it.

'They're really good lads here. They're amateurs, they don't have to be here, so I'm really flattered they all turned out.

'It's all about looking after yourself. These guys haven't got full-time masseurs or medics so they need to look after themselves, so turning out on a wet night like this, fair play to them.'

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