Delaney reveals role in Youngs transformation
May 11, 2012
Tom Youngs on the charge for Leicester © Getty Images
Youngs was one of the surprise inclusions in Stuart Lancaster's 42-man squad for the tour to South Africa. Youngs, brother of Ben, has never started an Aviva Premiership match at hooker but has in the centres back in the 2006-07 season.
But three years later, Tigers boss Heyneke Meyer saw Youngs' potential as a hooker and loaned him out to Nottingham to continue his education in the position. Youngs spent two seasons with the Championship side as he grew from a relative novice in the position into someone who has made 13 appearances for the Tigers this season.
While Leicester kept a close eye on Youngs, one of his major influences was Delaney at Nottingham.
"When Leicester asked if we would help Tom become a hooker, it was a great chance to become involved with him and a lot of work went in to developing something special," Delaney said. "The thing with him is that he has always been a hooker, just one playing out of position.
"He has now been a hooker for three years and done amazingly well and is ahead of where I thought he would be. It was tough for him three years ago when he came in to play hooker for us, but he had the mentality and physical attributes to play there. Fair play to the lad, now he's going on tour."
While Youngs had the necessary build for a hooker, it was the skills side of the position that, understandably, took time. "I'd say in his first year at hooker he probably hit only half his line-out throws, with a few going to half-backs from what I remember," Delaney said. "And yet he still picked up the Players-Player Award at the end of the season.
"The one thing about him was that whenever he was out there on the field he would contribute in so many ways. That first award showed that there was no-one that his teammates would rather go into battle with more than Youngsy."
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