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Coles savouring special Gardens experience

Northampton Saints lock Alex Coles admits pulling on an England jersey at Franklin’s Gardens tomorrow evening will be an occasion he will never forget.

The 19-year-old starts for Steve Bates’ England under-20s side against Scotland on Friday evening (kick-off 7.45pm) in familiar surroundings, having been first picked up by Northampton at just 13 years old.

“Being a Northampton boy, it’s really exciting for me to be able to play at Franklin's Gardens.”

Alex Coles

Coles has been involved in all four of England’s Six Nations matches so far this campaign, with the side recording two wins and two losses, and is hoping to finish off the Championship in style in front of a raucous Gardens crowd.

And while he’s also represented his country at under-16, under-18 and under-19 level, the towering second row believes this clash against England’s north-of-the-border rivals on home soil will be one of the highlights of his fledgling career so far.

“Obviously there’s a lot of history between England and Scotland as a fixture with the Calcutta Cup, and absolutely that rivalry translates to under-20s level,” he said.

“It will be a very physical and intense match I’m sure, and we really want to finish the Six Nations on a high to put ourselves in a good place heading into the Junior World Cup this summer.

“Being a Northampton boy, it’s really exciting for me to be able to play in front of people that have been around the area you have been playing for a long time.

“I’ve had a few chances to do it for Saints so far, but to do it for my country will be a huge honour for me and something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

“People throw a lot of clichés out there, but in this case they are all correct! To wear the badge is something you don’t get to do very often, and you’ve worked hard for it your whole life, so it does just fill you with pride.”

England under-20s take on Scotland under-20s in the final match of the Six Nations this Friday at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 7.45pm). Tickets are still available at £10 adults and £5 juniors, to book yours now please CLICK HERE.