Ben Youngs has turned to cricket for the mindset required to get him from 100 England caps to the 2023 World Cup.
The Leicester scrum-half is only the second Englishman to reach three figures and insists he has no intention of stopping there.
“I want to make 2023, without doubt I want to be part of that World Cup,” he said, ahead of today’s team announcement for England’s Nations Cup opener with Georgia.
Youngs says he is far from done and revealed that he reacted to reaching his century by adopting the psyche of a batsmen and taking a fresh guard.
“I allowed myself to absorb everything and appreciate what had happened,” he said. “I then wanted to have a clean slate and envision that I’m starting from one again.
“This is my first week in camp and I’ve got the opportunity to get one. I have used it as a reset. People have various ways of doing it and that’s the approach I’ve gone with.”
Youngs knows there are reference points out there in stars that have stayed at the top long after most others have called it quits. He cites Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Richard Wigglesworth.
But he said: "I don’t see myself yet as the guy who is mid-30s and still trying to figure out ways of staying at the top.
"I don’t feel right now that is something I need to focus on. I’m not at that stage. I see myself as a 31-year-old that is full of enthusiasm and desire to get better."
Youngs does admit however that leaving the nervous nineties lifted a weight from his shoulders.
"I can park it now, it’s done, a nice milestone,” he said. “Now I re-set and crack on.”
So determined is he to look forward rather than back that Youngs confesses to studying England’s other scrum-halves to learn new tricks.
Dan Robson, for one, has no doubt that his rival’s hunger for more caps is not going to be satisfied any time soon.
“He’s absolutely going to keep kicking on, he just wants more,” said the Wasps No.9.
“That, in turn, puts pressure on the guys chasing him; we’re going to have to work harder to chase him down.”
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