YOUNGS AT HEART
Like father, like son. When Ben Youngs was growing up, I'm sure he often listened wide-eyed as his father, Nick, regaled him and his brother Tom with tales of how he had stepped out on to the hallowed Twickenham turf in 1983. He had the No.9 shirt on his back, the red rose on his chest, and faced the mighty haka.
And how, 80 minutes later, his side had beaten New Zealand 15-9, and consigned the Kiwis to their first loss on British soil for 30 years. No doubt, this stuck with him.
Fast forward almost another 30 years and, look, there is another Youngs at scrum-half for England as New Zealand are brought to their knees at Twickenham on Saturday.
It was England's largest-ever margin of victory over the Kiwis and ended the world champions' 20-game unbeaten streak in the process.
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Not only is it now the 23-year-old's turn to follow in his father's footsteps, but he does so standing shoulder-to-shoulder with brother Tom, becoming only the third brothers since World War Two to play in the same England international side after the Underwoods and the Armitages.
"Nothing I could say could even get close to being able to give an indication of that amount of pride standing alongside him," said Ben.
"There is nothing to describe what that feels like, no words, unless you feel it for yourself.
"Every kid kicks the ball around with their brother, and pretends to be a striker, or runs around pretending to be Jonny Wilkinson, making tackles and trying to side-step each other.
"Then you play Sunday rugby and you think you want to play for England, that's always the dream.
"You ask anyone who plays local rugby, they want to play for their country, and then to actually do it, and to do it alongside your brother, is something really special."
Saturday was not just a moment for their father to look on with pride, but also for grandfather, Gerry, who had made the young duo a set of steel rugby posts when they were youngsters and, alongside wife Helen, had seen their son defeat New Zealand in the same stadium 28 years ago.
"For my grandparents it was a huge moment," said Ben. "Obviously, to see my dad play and now his two sons – for them it's been an immensely proud month.
"For our parents as well, they come to every game, we have a great family and they give me and my brother so much great support. They are always there."
After happily drinking in the incredible highs of the autumn international campaign, as well as enduring a couple of disappointing lows, Ben is enjoying being back home.
"I really enjoy coming back, I get to sleep in my own bed, do my own thing and be with my mates again," he said.
"The hardest thing is the fact you're living out of a hotel and you can't really escape the pressure of the game and the pressure of training.
"You finish training and you're still in that environment. You can't ever switch off, which is quite hard.
"Lads do bring their Playstations, but I tend not to get involved because I'm usually the one getting whooped.
"For me, it's brilliant being back at Leicester, getting a bit of banter and plenty of abuse, which is great.
"You feed off that, seeing them again. And it's Christmas as well so everyone is in a good mood."