Franklin's Gardens to host big England Under-20s fixture

Franklin's Gardens will host England Under-20s' clash with their Scotland counterparts (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Franklin's Gardens will host England Under-20s' clash with their Scotland counterparts (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints have announced that Franklin's Gardens will host one of England’s home Under-20s fixtures during the upcoming Six Nations campaign.

The young England side have had their clashes confirmed for the 2019 Championship, with Northampton the venue for their final-weekend game against Scotland.

Steve Bates’ side will not only be looking to beat their north-of-the-border rivals, but also wrap up a first Six Nations success since 2017 after finishing as runners-up to France in this year’s tournament.

England’s match against Scotland will take place on Friday, March 15 (kick-off 7.45pm) with tickets available to purchase now (from £10 adults and £5 juniors).

“We are very proud to be hosting England Under-20s’ final Six Nations fixture against Scotland, and look forward to making it a memorable occasion,” said Saints CEO Mark Darbon.

“The fierce rivalry between England and Scotland is very special and hopefully we will see a number of Saints Academy players involved.

“We expect this to be a popular fixture to attend, with rugby supporters in the region getting the opportunity to experience the magic of the Six Nations Championship on their doorstep.”

There could well be a significant local interest in the match, too, with the likes of Saints’ own Fraser Dingwall, Alex Coles, Ollie Sleightholme and Samson Ma’asi all hoping to be involved for their country.

Meanwhile Saints Academy head coach Mark Hopley will also be a part of the England management team as part of the latest coach development programme agreement with Premiership Rugby.

England head coach Bates added: “This is a really important tournament for the players’ development.

“They are exposed to a highly-competitive tournament on the international stage, where the intensity of the games and the scrutiny they’re under is different to anything they would have experienced before.

“Something we learned from the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship in France was the impact of the crowd. It was a fantastic final and an amazing occasion with 18,000 people watching which really raises the level of performance.

“To take on Scotland at Franklin’s Gardens in our final fixture will be a special occasion and it’s nice to end the tournament on home soil in front of our own supporters.

“That support means so much to the players; it’s a great place to go and watch rugby and I hope as many people as possible come along to cheer the lads on.”

England Under-20s Six Nations fixtures

Ireland v England (Friday, February 1, KO 19.15 GMT – Irish Independent Park, Cork)

England v France, live on Sky Sports (Saturday, February 9, KO 12.05 GMT – Sandy Park, Exeter)

Wales v England, live on S4C (Friday, February 22, KO TBC – ZipWorld Stadium, Colwyn Bay)

England v Italy, live on Sky Sports (Friday, March 8, KO 19.45 – Godlington Road, Bedford)

England v Scotland, live on Sky Sports (Friday, March 15, KO 19.45 – Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton)