Leicester and England scrum-half Ben Youngs says new coaches at club and country have reinvigorated his career.
The 26-year-old played a key role in England’s Six Nations Grand Slam success under Eddie Jones.
He is also revelling under the tutelage of Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger.
“With Mauge and Eddie, I feel I can play like I did when I first came on the scene for Leicester, when I didn’t fear what might happen if it went wrong,” Youngs told BBC 5 Radio live.
“I feel I’ve got that back now. It’s a new lease of life – I’ve been given confidence by both coaches to express myself.
“It’s given me a new motivation, and I feel I’m being challenged and tested every day.”
Proving a point
Following England’s exit at the group stage of the World Cup, Youngs was one of a handful of senior players under pressure for his international place.
And he admits he had to prove his worth to Jones.
“To start with he was probably testing me out a little bit,” said Youngs, who has 57 England caps and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2013.
“But I feel like I’ve got a very good relationship with Eddie. He instils a huge amount of belief both within the squad and individually, and I really enjoy being coached by him.”
Youngs featured in all of England’s Six Nations matches, and although he was dropped to the bench for the decider against France in Paris – with Danny Care starting in his place – his impact in the second half was telling.
“When [Jones] told me [I wasn’t starting], he said I was going to come off the bench and win us the Grand Slam. I thought ‘I quite like the sound of that!'” Youngs said.
“At that point I said to Eddie it’s just about winning the Grand Slam.
“Of course I want to start every game, but so does Danny, so that naturally isn’t going to happen. I was just happy that I could come on and really help the team. The plan paid off, so credit to him.”
Meanwhile, prior to the Champions Cup quarter-final against Stade Francais at Welford Road on Sunday, Youngs says his decision to recently sign a new contract at the Tigers has been vindicated.
“Definitely,” he added. “I really think whatever happens this year, I feel like we are only just touching the surface under Mauge. [Next season] we have [Australian international] Matt Toomua coming in, [Springbok wing] JP Pietersen coming in. The best is yet to come.”
Listen to commentary of Leicester Tigers against Stade Francais on BBC Radio 5 live on Sunday at 13:45.