Matt O'Connor pays tribute to Tom Youngs' bravery at difficult time

He will captain Leicester Tigers against Wasps despite difficult circumstances in his personal life

Leicester Tigers, Tom Youngs, rugby

Leicester’s Tom Youngs ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Leicester Tigers and ex-Leinster Rugby head coach Matt O'Connor says he has never known a player who is as mentally tough as Tom Youngs.

The club captain is expected to play in Saturday's English Premiership semi final with Wasps, even though he and his family are facing an incredibly difficult situation on a personal level.

Youngs' wife has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, which was the reason his brother, Ben Youngs, pulled out of the British and Irish Lions tour which takes place in New Zealand this summer.

Ben Youngs had explained: ""We are a very close family and, as I am sure everyone can respect, time is now precious together. The most important thing for me at this difficult time is to be able to offer as much support as I can to Tom and his family in the remaining time we all have together."

Speaking to Sky Sports News, O'Connor said he can't speak highly enough of Tom Youngs.

"This is just a different level and the mental strength and resilience that he's showing to captain the group in this season and with his own personal situation is a phenomenal, phenomenal effort," said O'Connor.

Following the announcement of his wife Tiffany's diagnosis, Youngs tweeted his gratitude to well-wishers, saying: "Myself and Tiffany have been overwhelmed with the messages of support we have received this week. We would like to thank you all!"