|Weight||102kg (16st 0lb)|
A first senior call for the tour of South Africa in 2012 brought a fraternal double for the Youngs family with Tom, a former England Uunder 20 centre, completing the rare transition to the middle of the front row by joining brother and scrum half Ben in the 42-strong party. Tom has appeared in 15 consecutive Test matches for which he was available, nine of them in the starting line-up.
He also played in both midweek games against the South African Barbarians South and North, starting the second game at Potchefstroom. When Tom made his Test debut in the QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham in November 2012, they became the first siblings to appear together for England since the Armitages, Delon and Steffon, in 2009. The pair went on to win selection for last summer’s British & Irish Lions tour of Australia and Tom played impressively throughout the first Test at Brisbane that produced a 23-21 victory. He also started the second Test and was a 48th-minute replacement for Richard Hibbard in the final triumph at Sydney.
Tom, educated at Gresham's in Holt, learned his new trade in the front row while on a dual registration with Nottingham. Former Leicester head coach Heyneke Meyer inspired his positional switch.
When Tom, then playing at centre, was sin-binned for fighting with an opposing Saracens prop in a second team game, Meyer walked up to him and said: “You should play at hooker.” Tom liked the idea and on previous age group tours had done one-to-one scrummaging with Dan Cole, no less.
When he went on loan to Nottingham in 2009, he had not figured at hooker but wore the No.2 jersey or played off the bench in 60 matches overall and won players’ player of the year plaudits. Glenn Delaney, then Nottingham's director of rugby, said: “It takes a special person to switch successfully from the wide open spaces of the backs to the middle of the front row. His potential is enormous.”
He has the pace and footwork of a centre but the aggression and physicality of someone ideally suited to the nitty-gritty of the bump and the grind. Brought up on the family’s arable farm in Norfolk, Tom, the older brother of Ben, is also the son of Nick Youngs, the England scrum half capped six times in 1983-84.
Norwich-born Tom underwent surgery on a bulging disc that was aggravated during a Heineken Cup pool match against Aironi in November 2011 and midway through the 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship had played 67 matches for the Tigers.
His first-team debut was in 2006 and his initial Premiership try was against Leeds Carnegie in November 2007. He started alongside Ben for the first time in the EDF Energy Cup match at Bath in 2008-09. Tom had represented England from U16 to U20 level and earned an England Sevens call for the IRB World Series in November 2007.
2012 Fj, A, SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F(R), It, W, A, Arg(R), NZ(R) 2014 F(R), S(R), I(R)
Lions: 2013 A (1, 2, 3R)
Last updated: February 27, 2014