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Hobbs expecting strong Gardens following

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

The Northampton-born prop has become accustomed to good turnouts for Wanderers games at the Gardens, as well as in England's home games so far at Plymouth and Worcester. But he is keen to be involved at home with an even bigger following in prospect.

"It's exciting to be in with a chance of playing here in my hometown," he said. "We've had good support wherever we've been already but I think the fans at Saints are great.

"I've heard tickets have been selling well and quite a few of my mates have got their tickets for the game already. The crowds are always big at Franklin's Gardens, even in the Wanderers games I've played in, and hopefully they'll get behind us on Friday evening. It will definitely be a big lift to all of us, especially the Saints boys."

Hobbs is one of six Saints Academy players in the squad and is enjoying his first season in the Under-20 group having made the step up from England Under-18s and turned out in all three games so far.

The squad are also still in with a shout of claiming an unprecedented third straight Under 20 Six Nations title, but with undefeated Wales lying in wait for a potential championship showdown, victory on Friday is a must.

"A lot of us made the step up in age groups but we all feel very comfortable now in this environment," Hobbs added. "We've had a couple of good wins so far and hopefully we can repeat those performances for another against Italy."

Tickets for England Under-20 v Italy are now on general sale, priced at £12 for adults and £7 for juniors and concessions. Book online by CLICKING HERE and following the straightforward instructions!

The evening also includes a beer festival featuring 10 guest ales in the Rodber Suite, and fancy dress competitions.