A virtuoso performance from Ben Youngs, making only his second Twickenham start, brought him the Investec Man of the Match award when England overpowered Australia 35-18 in November 2010. His imaginative blind-side pass near his own line helped to launch Chris Ashton for an 85-metre try that reinforced the impression of Ben’s excellence.
Scintillating form behind a dominant Leicester Tigers pack projected him to the accolade of Land Rover Discovery of the Year 2009/10 at the annual Premiership awards and a try-scoring first start for England in the 21-20 win over Australia at Sydney in June 2010. A dummy and a dynamic dash from line-out ball won by Tom Croft launched him to the line.
He also marked his RWC debut in September 2011 with a vital try against Argentina in Dunedin after coming off the bench for Richard Wigglesworth. Another followed later that month only 20 seconds after half-time in the 67-3 win over Romania and his fourth, against Ireland at Twickenham in March 2012, came from his opportunist “tap and go” from a penalty award.
His two touchdowns against South Africa in the second Test at Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg three months later were the first instance of a player scoring two tries in a match for England against the Springboks since Will Greenwood did so in the 53-3 victory at Twickenham in November 2002. Ben, who had produced an outstanding performance, was ruled out of the final week of the tour by an injury to his right shoulder.
He regained fitness to win his 25th cap, against Fiji, in the autumn of 2012 and was a key player in the 12-6 victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in February 2013 when reaching the 30-cap landmark. He appeared in every match in the 2013 Six Nations and went on to reach 40 caps against South Africa at Twickenham in November 2014 and his 50th came when Fiji were beaten 35-11 at Twickenham last September this year.
His slick display against Wales at Cardiff in February last year had helped to emphasise England’s superiority. Eight days later he scored a sharp-witted opportunist try when tapping a penalty close to Italy’s line at Twickenham. He was the RBS Man of the Match in both the next two games at HQ when Scotland were beaten 25-13 and France were overpowered 55-35 with Ben scoring two of England’s seven tries. Another man of the match award followed after England beat Italy 40-9 in Rome this February and he produced a perfect grubber kick for Anthony Watson’s try in the Grand Slam finale against France in Paris.
Ben led the Tigers last season in the absence through injury of Ed Slater and by late March this year, he had taken his appearances for the club to 175, including 121 in the Premiership. He had scored 29 tries, a conversion and six penalty goals overall.
He had undergone keyhole surgery on his left knee in June 2011, was the Tigers' youngest league player when appearing against Bristol in April 2007 and figured off the bench in the 2008 Premiership final triumph over Gloucester. His first senior try was against Bath in the EDF Energy Cup in October 2008, exploits that he has superimposed on the international arena.
The youngest player in the England Junior World Championship party eight years ago, he ended 2008/09 by figuring in the squad that reached the final of the World Championships in Japan. He also advanced into the England Sevens party for the IRB World Series, first appearing in Hong Kong.
Ben was a member of the England Junior National Academy in 2006/07 and played at fly half, full back and centre, as well as scrum half with the Tigers Academy, which he joined on a full-time basis that season.
Norwich-born and educated at Gresham’s School in Holt, he played for North Walsham before joining Leicester and is the son of Nick Youngs, the Tigers scrum half, who won six England caps in 1983/84. Ben's older brother, Tom, a centre-turned-hooker, was on a dual registration with the Tigers and Nottingham before returning to Welford Road and winning his first England cap against Fiji in November 2012.
Two years ago in Australia, Ben and Tom became the 14th pair of brothers to represent the British & Irish Lions. Both played in the first Test at Brisbane with Ben appearing off the bench for Mike Phillips in a 23-21 win. The following week they became the first siblings to start a Lions Test together since Gavin and Scott Hastings did so 24 years earlier.
45 points - 9T
2010 S(R), A(1R,2), NZ, A, Sam, SA 2011 W, It, F, S, I World Cup - Arg(R), G, R, S, F 2012 S, It, W(R), F(R), I(R), SA (1,2), Fj(R), A(R), SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F, It(R), W, A(R), NZ(R) 2014 NZ (1,2R,3), NZ(R), SA(R), Sam, A 2015 W, It, I, S, F, F, I World Cup - Fj, W, A 2016 S(R), It, I, W, F(R)
Lions: 2013 A(1R, 2)
Last updated: 20 March 2016