INTERVIEW: BEN YOUNGS

BATD ON Mar 11, 2014 AT 4:31 pm

by Annie Vischer

Ben Youngs

Ben Youngs

He won his first England cap against Fiji in November 2012 and since then Ben Youngs has proved himself to be one of the bright young things in rugby union. He’s part of the squad for this year’s RBS 6 Nations tournament, and last summer he represented the British & Irish Lions as they fought to gain their first series win in 16 years. Which they did. Complete with a serious amount of post-match celebration in the changing rooms with James Bond and a whole lot of Champagne.

When he’s not donning an England or Lions shirt, Ben plays Scrum Half for Leicester Tigers, the club that counts both his father and brother as past and present players. Those are some pretty high credentials for a guy who’s only 24.

His latest venture is a little more on BATD territory as he becomes the face of Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula men’s range. See, rugby guys can do beauty too.  And just FYI, beauty girls can do rugby. Not play rugby I hasten to add, that’s way beyond me, but talk rugby? Sure. I spent a good deal of my school days as part of a Hunter wellied, puffa jacketed gaggle of girls cheering on the boys from the sidelines and am now a faithful Sarries girl (Saracens for those not in the rugby union know). So there.

Ben kicked off his BATD interview whilst being prepped for his Palmers campaign shoot. Gone was the muddied up rugby attire, the shot was all about a steamy bathroom, so it was time for the muscle enhancing vest top and a few makeup touch-ups. We’re way past pretending that rugby guys couldn’t give a care about looking good (the likes of Gavin Henson and Danny Cipriani quickly shattered that illusion), but it’s fair to say that Ben didn’t exactly look at one with foundation.

A: If we were to go into your bathroom cupboard without you prepping it, what would we find?

B: Ok you’d find all the usuals, shaving foam, a razor, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, then you’d find Chanel Blue Aftershave. You’d also find Palmers Cocoa Formula Moisturiser, and some VO5 Clay Wax, got to maintain the comb!

A: Quite up on your products then? Do you guys put a lot of thought into how you look on game day?

B: Yeah, well you’ve got to make sure you’re presentable when you run out, but by the time we end the game we’re pretty messed up and have stopped caring.

A: But that’s the look you want right?

B: Yeah completely, alpha male type thing.

A: So when you’re off the pitch do you guys discuss products, fashions, clothes, that sort of thing?

B: Yeah quite a lot of the lads are keen on fashion.

A: What’s your look then? Besides the vest.

B: No not the vest! I like my jeans, I like All Saints. I would probably say my look is a standard T shirt, jeans, hoodie and converse shoes.

A: You’re not a deep V guy?

B: Definitely not a deep V guy.

A: Good to know. But you have to have a quirk, everyone’s a bit of a geek about something. What’s your geek thing?

B: I am quite geeky when it comes to TV series. I’ve just finished watching Breaking Bad. You’ve got to stick with it but once you get through the first series it is quality.

A: What’s next on your hit list?

B: Suits, that’s my next thing, I have it ready to watch. Obviously me and the guys are away a lot of the time so we have all these things on hard drives that we exchange and hand around.

A: Do you have a lot of movie nights scheduled?

B: Yeah, on Friday night when we are in the hotel with all the guys we’ll put a film or series on the projector in the physio room and just sit back and relax. We have little pre-match movies in the hotel.

A: And obviously training is rigorous, are you kept on quite a tight leash going out wise?

B: Yeah fairly. Obviously nutrition is part of the job any way and we all eat very well. Of course we can go out for a drink and a social if we want to but we can’t really do it mid-week. We get fat tested every two weeks, so if I was to have a two week blow out, unfortunately I’d have to answer to a few people! They would be able to tell straight away.

A: Wow, so what about your down time? Is there anything besides movie nights that you love to do to relax?

B: Yeah I have a dog called Ness, she’s a cross between a Bassett Hound and a Shar Pei (a Ba-Shar) so she’s got very wrinkly skin. I spend a lot of time with her really. I go out walking with her or I bring her to training with me and she sits in my car in the front seat staring out of the window. I drop her off on Friday at a company called Canine Heaven when I have to travel, and pick her up afterwards.

A: Ness sounds gorgeous, you’ll have melted a few hearts with that. In terms of looking good,you’re obviously in peak condition now and you’ll be wanting to maintain that. Are there any older guys out there that you look to for inspiration?

B: George Clooney looks good doesn’t he? He’s a good looking guy. George is a Hollywood boss.  He has grey hair but he’s still rocking it. I saw a picture of him the other day and he was on a Harley Davidson wearing a half-helmet and I just thought, he’s a dude. I don’t think I will ever be able to make it to his league but I think he shows that it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can still take care of your appearance.

A: I’ll go along with that. But I maintain every guy will go through a mid life crisis at some point, maybe that’s the story behind George and his Harley. What will your mid life crisis blowout be? It’s a few years away don’t worry.

B: Yeah I hope it’s a long way off! A lot of people say you get a young person’s car or motorbike, so I’d possibly fall into that trap. Or maybe go to Vegas, get it into my head that I’m 21 again and escape there.

A: A Vegas boy! And what about London? Give me some of your favourite places to be when you’re in the South.

B: I am down quite a lot for matches against Harlequins, London Irish and teams like that, and I like to come down any way every so often myself. If I am with the England camp we stay in Pennyhill Park and we’ll often visit Gauchos in Richmond. I’m a big steak eater, so tucking into one there right by the river is amazing.

A: And what would be your go-to drink?

B: I’d probably go with a lager first but if I was on shorts I would go with a vodka lime soda, because of the low calories. *looks to his agent for a thumbs up*

A: Very good of you! But not interesting enough. Give me a cocktail.

B: Ok a cocktail, I had one called a Tom Collins and it was a seriously nice, gin cocktail. So next time you go out you have to try out a Tom Collins. That’s your recommendation from me.

A: I’m more of a Lychee Martini girl but I’ll give it a try. Back to rugby. So in the Aviva Premiership table at the moment, who would you say are your main rivals?

B: Let’s say Saracens to keep you happy.

A: Thanks.

B: And then Northampton I’d say.

A: And what about specific players?

B: I get on really well with Danny Care and Lee Dickson but obviously we’re competing for the same position, there’s three of us going for the same England spot. So that’s a healthy rivalry right there. There are plenty of other guys, a guy called Dan Robson who is coming through at Gloucester, he is a really fantastic player. That rivalry will no doubt start coming through as well, so there are definitely a few.

Ben Youngs with brother Tom Youngs as part of the British & Irish Lions team.

A: Obviously fitness is one of the main preoccupations of your job, but do you prioritise it in other areas? Is it something you find important when it comes to girls?

B: No, not really. Actually it is sometimes quite nice to get away from it, I’m not automatically attracted to someone who’s an absolute health freak. Opposites do attract, so they say. I go to the gym because I have to but I don’t really like it. It’s obviously part of the job so I have to do it.

A: A lot of sports guys will say that the gym is their outlet, a way to relax. is it more of a necessity for you then?

B: Yeah it’s something I have to do to make sure I can perform at the weekend. My favourite part of the job is being outside on the pitch, whether it’s training or playing.

A: And playing rugby in the spotlight must land rather a few opportunities at your door. Do you have a bucket list? Are there any things you really want to tick off over the next few years?

B: I’m going to say a sky dive because you apparently get something like a two day high from that. I think it should be compulsory for everyone go to Vegas at some point. I’ve already been but I need to go again. And I think getting a sports car. That has to be one on the bucket list. And it would have to be an Aston Martin, being a good English man.  What’s on your bucket list?

A: Mine? Jees I haven’t even thought. Car wise, a vintage Austin Healey Frog-Eye Sprite, pale blue, super girly.

B: That’ll be sick.

A: It’s going to happen.

B: Make it happen.

A: And then a New York trip. Obviously.

B: Definitely have to do a New York trip, and you need to visit a bar called Hogs & Heifers, it’s in the Meat Packing District. It’s the bar that the film Coyote Ugly is based on, it’s amazing. That’s where you need to visit in New York.

A: I’ll make a mental note. Apart from travelling you guys do a lot of charity work in your spare time. Are there any charities you are involved with at the moment, that you feel  particularly close to?

B: There is a charity I am involved with called Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which looks out for families that have unfortunately lost someone, whether it be a husband, wife, father or mother at war. It raises money to help the families go on holidays together, and works to provide for them. It’s an incredible charity.

 BATD Outtake

A: Are you a farmer?

B: Yep!

A: So you can handle a tractor?

B: I can handle a tractor, just about.

A: I can drive a tractor in turtle gear, I think it’s a gear on a really old tractor?

B: Yeah that’s right, they have turtle and hare gears, well done!

A: Well thanks.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Men’s Body & Face Lotion is available from Boots,

RRP £3.99/ 250ml or RRP £5.29 / 400ml pump 

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