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Richard Cockerill expects Tom Youngs to be among six or seven Leicester Tigers players in Lions squad

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Richard Cockerill says he will be amazed if hooker Tom Youngs is not one of "six or seven" Leicester Tigers players named in today's British & Irish Lions squad for the tour of Australia.

The 26-year-old has had an amazing season, having secured a starting shirt with both club and country.

Youngs will be up against some serious competition for a place in Warren Gatland's 38-man squad for the three-Test series Down Under. But Tigers director of rugby Cockerill believes his man is a perfect fit for a tour that will largely be played on hard, fast surfaces.

"Tom has done things in this one season that blokes haven't done in 15-year careers," said Cockerill.

"The jammy devil has timed it well, hasn't he, in a Lions year!

"Tom is perfect for the Lions and I would be amazed if he doesn't get picked.

"Who would you pick in front of him? Of all of the hookers in Great Britain, who is playing better than Tom Youngs?

"Week in, week out, at Test and club level, Tom has been very good.

"He is very mobile and very powerful carrying the ball and, technically, he is very good in the set-piece.

"There will be three hookers going on tour and he has to be one of them."

Although Gatland's squad is expected to be dominated by Welshman, with up to 15 members of their squad likely to make the cut, Leicester could provide the biggest contingent from any club with Youngs, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Ben Youngs, Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi all with a good shout of selection, and Toby Flood an outside bet.

Only Leinster and the Ospreys have a realistic chance of matching those sorts of numbers.

That would mean some of the Tigers' biggest names not being involved in preparation for the 2013-14 season until one month before the season gets under way following statutory post-Lions R&R.

But Cockerill said that is a hit that he is willing to take if it means the club gains the kudos of having so many people involved in the tour, and added: "Potentially, we could have six or seven players on the Lions tour who we would get back on, or around, August 5.

"So that is the date that our season will start properly with only a few weeks to go until we begin the Premiership campaign.

"There's no point in moaning about it. You just have to be patient and you cannot bring those players back too early or they would be struggling come January time.

"And to have six or seven players in the Lions squad would be a great accolade for the club. I hope they all get picked."

Richard Cockerill expects Tom Youngs to be among six or seven Leicester Tigers players in Lions squad


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