Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs 'dreads' new 10-month Premiership season plans

Julian Bennetts
Tom Youngs is concerned about having a shorter pre-season - Rex Features

Leicester captain Tom Youngs has become the l­atest high-profile figure to hit out at the proposed 10-month Premiership season, saying the prospect “fills players with dread”.

As part of the new global calendar, it was announced last month that from the 2019-20 season the Aviva Premiership would start in early September and finish at the end of June.

That has drawn condemnation from a number of players and Youngs says they are concerned about the prospect of having a shorter pre-season.

“I think it fills us all with a bit of dread,” the Tigers hooker, who also has 28 ­England caps and three for the British & Irish Lions, said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “I know they are trying to look after us a little bit, but that’s a long time. It’s long enough now.

“It would shorten pre-­seasons, and pre-season is so vital to get us ready to go through the season. I know in June, if I don’t go on any tours or anything, I have five weeks off and that is nice to know. Even when pre-season games come round, it feels a little bit like you have only played last week.

“I don’t know the ins and outs, but I wouldn’t be too keen about it. I do feel the players are going to be the ones to drag it through. To just extend the season, I don’t think that will really work.”

Meanwhile, the Tigers’ head coach Matt O’Connor said it had not been not a ­difficult decision to rejoin the club where he was part of a coaching team that won three Premiership titles ­between 2008 and 2013.

Matt O'Connor is back at Leicester Tigers Credit: GETTY IMAGES

“It is fantastic to be back,” said O’Connor, speaking to the media for the first time since coming back to Welford Road. “I have nothing but fond memories of the five years we spent here previously and I’m really looking forward to starting that legacy up again.

“It certainly wasn’t a tough decision. The club has got a special place in my heart. Once Cockers [Richard Cockerill] finished up, there was an opportunity to have a conversation with the club and it progressed from there.”

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