December 7, 2023


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Ben Youngs will retire from Test rugby after Argentina’s World Cup third-place play-off against England.

3 min read

The 34-year-old scrum-half will earn his 127th England cap against the Pumas in his tournament debut.

In the England pecking order, Youngs is behind Alex Mitchell and Leicester teammate Jack van Poortvliet.

When current coach Steve Borthwick was captain, he made his Test debut against Scotland in March 2010.

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Youngs’ declaration follows the retirement of lock Courtney Lawes, who played his 105th and last Test in England’s World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa.

Youngs described his international career as “a great ride” in an interview with BBC Rugby Union Daily.

“I feel incredibly proud to have done it for this long,” Mr. Youngs added.

“It took a tremendous amount of effort to do it for 13 years.” It just feels right, and I feel very grateful to be able to play and go on my terms.

“You can see some players have it completed for them. I’m ready to go. I’ve always been focused on getting to this World Cup, and I’ve never felt the urge to continue after this World Cup.

“I look forward to playing club rugby and supporting this team from a distance, but it’s been a great ride.”

Youngs has represented England in four World Cups, toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 2013, and is one of only five Englishmen to have 100 caps.

He won four Six Nations titles, including the Grand Slam in 2016, and was a World Cup finalist in 2019.

Youngs’ international career began on the wing, filling in for the injured Ugo Monye in a Calcutta Cup tie against Scotland.

A few months later, he scored his first Test try as a scrum-half in Australia’s 21-20 victory in Sydney.

On his 115th appearance in the Six Nations triumph over Wales in February 2022, Youngs surpassed World Cup-winning prop Jason Leonard to become England’s most capped men’s player.

Small accomplishments, such as breaking Leonard’s record, kept him going between the 2019 World Cup final and the current tournament in France.

“World Cups are so long away and four years is a long old time when it comes to form, injuries and different ways of playing,” he said.

“I wanted to get to 100 caps after the 2019 final.” I had to wait for a bit while on 99.

“Then [Jason] Leonard’s record appeared, and I had these little milestones between 2019 and 2023, which definitely helped.” I’m not sure I’d have been able to do it without them in between.

“It takes a lot to play, and you have to compete every week.” It is also time away from family. I’m so happy I’ll finish on Friday. It’s a fantastic feeling, and perhaps there will be another one before I can walk away with Courtney [Lawes].”

Youngs will finish 26 caps short of Sarah Hunter’s England record, which she set in March with her 141st and final appearance for the Red Roses.

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