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Tom Youngs ends rugby career immediately after indefinite leave to care for sick wife

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England rugby star Tom Youngs has announced his retirement from rugby following his indefinite leave of absence to care for his wife.

Lions front rower Youngs, who featured in all three tests on the 2013 tour, hasn’t played a match for Leicester this season after stepping back to be with his wife Tiffanywho is battling a serious illness.

Youngs’ wife was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, shortly after giving birth to her daughter Maisie in 2014. Tom pulled out of England’s tour of New Zealand that year to care for her, while his younger brother Ben, the Leicester scrum-half, withdrew from the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2017 because of her serious health situation.

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After chemotherapy was not successful, Tiffany underwent a number of stem cell transplants and clinical trials before being told she had between four weeks and one year to live. Ten months after that diagnosis, having researched alternative therapies, taking cannabis oil and changing her diet with the help of a nutritionist, she was declared cancer free.

Youngs calls time on his career after making 215 appearances for Leicester, as well as earning 28 Test caps for England and three for the British & Irish Lions.

“I am so grateful to all of the team-mates that have helped me along the way, coaches who have taught me so much and fans who have been there for me, cheering us on,” Youngs said in a statement on Leicester’s website.

“I had always planned around this season being my last and I am comfortable with the timing of it now.

“I have no regrets and, looking back, am proud of what I have achieved at the only club I ever wanted to play for.”

A Premiership title winner in the 2012-13 season, Youngs captained the Tigers on 98 occasions. Only the former England skipper Martin Johnson has performed the role more times.

Youngs is the son of former Leicester scrum-half Nick Youngs and spent his career playing alongside his brother Ben at club and international level.

“There has always been a connection to the club, with dad playing for Tigers, and I have memories from an early age of hearing about what that was like for him and what it meant to him,” Youngs added.

“To be able to do what I have done, alongside my brother and after my dad, is just magical. I couldn’t have written it any better.”

Youngs received his first England cap in a win over Fiji in November 2012 and made his Six Nations debut in 2013 before being selected by the Lions for that summer’s series in Australia, where he played in all three Tests.

After appearing for Leicester in the club’s 2021-22 pre-season fixtures, Youngs took indefinite leave from the game to care for his wife Tiffany, who is battling an illness, and has not featured during the current campaign.

“Most of all, I want to thank my family for all that they have done to help me achieve what I have been able to do throughout my career,” Youngs added.

“My mum, my dad, my brother and all of my extended family, I am so lucky to have them. Finally, to my wife Tiff and daughter Maisie, I am lucky to have you alongside me and would not be where I am without you. Thank you both.”

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