With England Under-20 having picked up where the class of 2016 left off, World Championship winning captain Harry Mallinder believes the current crop of young stars can stay on course for a Grand Slam when they host Scotland at Franklin’s Gardens.
Their trio of bonus point wins has opened up a three-point gap at the top of the table, but with Ireland still unbeaten themselves, a pair of wins for the two title challengers on March 11th would set up a winner takes all clash in Dublin.
“Why not?” Mallinder said when asked if England can continue to replicate the form of their senior charges. “That’s what they’ve got to aim for. I’ve watched all of their games so far and they’ve got some real depth in their squad. A couple of lads have been held back by their clubs but they’ve still looked so strong.
“I’m wishing them all the best and hopefully they can go out there and get it.”
While the Saints centre tasted world glory in the summer of 2016, the chance to run out at Franklin’s Gardens in international colours is one thing that evaded him, England last coming to Northampton in 2014.
With that in mind, there is a hint of envy in his voice when discussing the potential involvement of clubmates Alex Mitchell and James Grayson a week on Saturday.
“Pulling on the Rose and representing your country – that’s a special feeling, I’m sure even more so if Mitch and Grase get to do that at the Gardens.
“They’ll have played here in the odd Wanderers game but they’ve not had the experience of a first team game yet. The Northampton supporters are fantastic and I’m sure there will be plenty down here supporting the boys.
“It will be great for them running out in front of, hopefully, a good turnout who I know will make themselves heard.”
International rugby hits Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, March 11th, when England Under-20 host Scotland in the Six Nations. Ticket prices start at just £12 for adults and £5 for juniors! CLICK HERE to book online