Ben Youngs: It was great to be back in action for Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers star Ben Youngs has said he is really happy to be back on the pitch after his lengthy period on the side-lines following shoulder surgery.
The scrum-half made the dream return as he scored the decisive – and only try for Tigers in their 20-8 victory over Sale Sharks on Friday night.
It was the 23-year-old international's first taste of competitive rugby since he underwent shoulder surgery after picking up an injury during England's tour of South Africa, in July.
"It was my first game back in a long, long time so I was just really happy to be out there," said an elated Youngs after the game.
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"I'll look at the game to see what I can improve on but, to be honest with you, this was just about getting out there, getting some minutes under my belt and just playing.
"To be honest, for me, it was almost like a pre-season game. When you come back from a long injury, in a way, you have to be selfish and just focus on your things and then get through it.
"No matter how many fitness sessions you do – and I have had a fair few in the past few months – there is nothing like playing, trying to communicate and having to put your skills under pressure.
"The shoulder feels really good so I'm really happy, " he said. "Obviously, it has kept me out for a while now – three and a half months – but it felt fine and it was just really nice to be back out there.
"The Sale game was just about getting through and finding my feet again."
Tigers had to come from behind after Sale dominated much of the first half at the Salford City Stadium.
"But some pinpoint kicking from George Ford got the Tigers back into the contest before Richard Thorpe played in Youngs who got over the line just seven minutes into the second half.
"It was really nice to get in the score sheet," said Youngs.
"But I'm never too bothered about who scores as long as we get the win. Sale are a very good side – they came out firing in the first half.
"We were probably a bit boring to watch at times but fair credit to our defence, we really stood up well and the defence certainly won us the game.
"An 8pm kick-off on a Friday night in Sale is always a tough game – it's more of an arm wrestle so there isn't too much flair out there.
"Some games are just about being pragmatic and I think we were street-wise," he said.