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Ben Youngs is aiming for the World Cup after overcoming the tragic death of his brother’s wife

‘I feel like I can roll up my sleeves and get it over with’: Ben Youngs targets World Cup spot after recovering from tragic death of his brother’s wife

  • Ben Youngs helped Leicester win the Gallagher Premiership last season
  • He has admitted he had the “weight of the world” on his shoulders
  • The finale came just weeks after the death of his brother Tom’s wife

Ben Youngs has admitted he had the “weight of the world” on his shoulders at the end of last season as he steered Leicester to Gallagher Premiership glory.

England’s scrum-half Youngs played in the Tigers’ last win over Saracens at Twickenham in June, a game that came just weeks after the death of his brother Tom’s wife, Tiffany, following a heroic battle with cancer.

Youngs then missed England’s summer tour of Australia to grieve with his family. But on the eve of the new season, England’s record cap holder is poised to plunge into what will end up having its fourth World Cup.

Ben Youngs admits he had the

Ben Youngs admits he had the “weight of the world” on his shoulders by the end of last season

“For the first time in a long time I don’t have the outside weight of the world on my shoulders and I can go out there and do what I want to do,” Youngs said.

“I’m very excited, I really am. I feel like I can roll up my sleeves and follow along. This year my personal life is good for the first time in a few years.

“I have nothing to do there and can fully concentrate on what I love to do, which is playing rugby.

“Everyone has things to do in their life, but this is a chance now where I have nothing to take me away from what I’m trying to achieve. It’s something that excites me.’

The fact that Youngs helped Leicester become English champions while battling family grief remains nothing short of extraordinary, but it took its toll.

Youngs missed England's summer tour of Australia so he could grieve with his family

Youngs missed England’s summer tour of Australia so he could grieve with his family

It was a perfectly sensible decision for him to miss the three Tests in July with the Wallabies.

“When you’re going through something like that (grief) and it’s so close to home, life can be really unpredictable,” added Youngs, 33.

“Things can change very quickly but one thing that allows for stability is rugby. It gives you a routine and accomplishment for those frustrations. I think it (a break) sure put me in a better position ahead of the new season.

Youngs will almost certainly remain a key figure for England head coach Eddie Jones in the year ahead. “It narrows the focus when you say there’s a World Cup in 12 months,” Youngs said. “I’m no different from other English players who want to take part.”

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Maureen Mackey

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