Norfolk’s Lions’ hero Tom Youngs savours a Test win to remember
- Credit: PA
Norfolk's Tom Youngs admitted his Lions' Test winning debut display in a heroic 23-21 win over Australia will live with him forever.
The Aylsham-bred hooker was immense in the biggest game of his career to help Warren Gatland's tourists fire the opening salvo in a three-match series. The Leicester Tiger was joined on the field at Brisbane's Suncorp stadium by younger brother Ben midway through the second half to become the first brothers since Scott and Gavin Hastings 20 years ago to feature together in a Lions' Test match.
Both are likely to be heavily involved again this coming weekend as the best from the British Isles and Ireland aim to clinch an historic first series win in the southern hemisphere since 1997.
'I enjoyed every minute of it to be honest and it will take a long time to get over it. This is something I will always remember,' said Tom. 'It was very intense and it was very physical. It was great to be a part of it and it was an absolute honour to run out and play in this sort of side with these sort of guys. The mood afterwards was good in the changing room, but I think there is also a feeling we have more to come. We are going into the second Test and we haven't won anything yet.'
Legendary former Lions' head coach Sir Ian McGeechan hailed Youngs' performance after a starring role from the schoolboy centre who was only converted to hooker four years ago.
'You just find these players when they go on Lions' tours and they seem to find another level from within themselves,' he said. 'He is a front-rower now but he has the mind of someone operating in the backs and that means he is always in the right areas on the field of play. He knows instinctively where he needs to be. To me, his tackle count and just his general involvement in the game, particularly in the first half, was tremendous.'
Brother Ben relished the special family moment after replacing Welsh scrum-half Mike Phillips for the final quarter of an epic contest.
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'It was quite tough. I was sat on the bench watching as a fan almost but knowing you might get a chance to get on. To actually then run on and play alongside him in the red shirt was far beyond anything I have ever imagined,' he said. 'I thought all the guys were exceptional but Tom was exceptional as well. When I went on I guess the message was just to play territory. We knew we could squeeze them up front but it was all about territory.'