Ben Youngs to retire from international rugby after World Cup

Ben Youngs is the most-capped player for England in international rugby
Ben Youngs is the most-capped player for England in international rugby

England scrum-half Ben Youngs has announced that he will be retiring from international rugby at the end of the ongoing Rugby World Cup.

Youngs will play his 127th Test for England on Friday in the third place play-off against Argentina which will also be his first and only start in the tournament.

The 34-year-old's debut for England came in 2010 when current head Steve Borthwick was the captain of the side and is one of the five players to have played over 100 times for the side. In 2002, he went past Jason Leonard to become the most-capped played for England and has been part of the squad that won four Six Nations tournament including one Grand Slam.

He will now follow the likes of Courtney Lawes, who announced his retirement from Test rugby following the semi-final defeat to South Africa last weekend.

"I feel incredibly proud to have done it for this long. It has taken a huge amount of effort to do it for 13 years. It's just fitting and it feels right, and I feel so privileged to be able to play and walk away on my terms," he told the BBC's Rugby Union Daily podcast.

"You see some players have it finished for them. I'm ready to do it. I have always had this focus of getting to this World Cup and I never felt that after this World Cup I would need to carry on. I look forward to playing club rugby and supporting this team from a distance, but it's been a great ride.

"World Cups are so long away and four years is a long old time when it comes to form, injuries and different ways of playing. After the 2019 final, I wanted to get to 100 caps. I was on 99 for a while and had to wait.

"Then suddenly [Jason] Leonard's record came into sight and so I had these little milestones between 2019 and 2023 which definitely helped. If I didn't have them in between, I'm not sure I would've been able to do it.

"It takes a lot and you are competing every week to play. It's also the time away from the family. I'm so content I'm finishing on Friday. It's a great feeling and hopefully there will be one more high, then I can walk away with Courtney [Lawes]."