Back in Norfolk, where a painting by Ben Youngs covers the entire clubhouse wall at Holt Rugby Club, they will stand up on Friday evening to greet their number 9.
There Youngs took his first steps into the game from which he will retire as his country’s most capped player.
His brother Tom, who threw sugar beets at him on his grandfather’s farm, will join him in Paris when the most resilient English career comes to an end.
It will be Youngs’ first start at this World Cup – a sentimental selection by Steve Borthwick for the bronze medal game – and a final farewell in his 127th Test.
“Steve told me I was playing, and after he told me I was playing, I said to him, ‘There’s something you need to know,’ because I hadn’t talked to him about it at all and wanted that he knows it. said Youngs. “I said, ‘Look, this is going to be my last game and I’m grateful for the chance to do this.’
After 13 years as a Red Rose, Ben Youngs will end his brilliant career in England
The number 9 was selected by Steve Borthwick for his first World Cup start against Argentina
“I’m proud and privileged to be able to get off work on Friday and get this opportunity. “I’ve been doing this for so long and there’s great talent in the nine jersey. It’s exactly right. It just feels right. I feel so content.
“The fact that I had this in my mind for a long time and then didn’t hesitate shows me that it is absolutely the right decision.” Even now, to tell you all, there is no part of me that says “What “would be if” thinks – I’m absolutely making the right decision.”
Youngs, 34, will make way for players such as Alex Mitchell, Jack van Poortvliet and Raffi Quirke. He withstood challengers to his No. 9 for a decade – winning Grand Slams, clean victories and competing in four world championships.
“I will miss the adrenaline of running in front of a full stadium,” he said. “I’ll actually miss the pressure of big games when everything is on the line.”
“It was an incredibly proud moment for me to play alongside my brother.” Reaching 100 caps and being part of this group is very special. The main thing is to do it consistently in such a difficult position and with such great competition.
Youngs made his debut for England in 2010 (pictured) and made 126 Test appearances
“I had four coaches at England and was picked by all four.” And that’s a nice gesture. Every trainer has a preference. Every coach wants different things but I had four with England and was picked by all of them. I guess I’m proud of it because it shows I’m definitely bringing something to the party.”
As for the future, Youngs is contracted to Leicester until the end of the season. He has been with the club since his school days and has always been one of the most articulate members of the team. No doubt broadcasters will be lining up to have him on the pitch for England’s next game.
How would he like to be remembered? “That’s for others to decide.” I’ve done my part… as long as I don’t screw it up on Friday. What could happen guys, it could happen! Chris Ashton thought he had made it when he scored the most tries and received a red card the following week. So you just don’t know, do you? There is a lesson in this!
“I saw things going really well with England and I went through a few rebuilds. “I think I leave it on a good note and I’d like to think I was someone who was a big part of one “It was a successful team and a team that I leave behind on the right path.”