- Saracens back-rower wants silverware after missing out on Six Nations
- Group-stage momentum crucial – Hankin
Photo: Getty Images
Almost two years have passed since Matt Hankin last represented his country at age-group level, and the Saracens back-rower is determined to make up for lost time when the Junior World Championship begins next month.
Hankin was part of an England Under 18 tour to Australia in the summer of 2011, but missed this season’s Under 20 Six Nations through injury.
And while he was full of praise for the side that beat Wales 28-15 to secure a third successive title, Hankin also admitted his desire secure some more silverware for himself.
He said: “It’s been a while [since I’ve played for England] – nearly two years, now – so it’s nice to come back and see a few of the boys that I played with at Under 18 level.
“I’ve seen the pictures of the boys holding the [Six Nations] trophy up and it is slightly frustrating because you want to be involved yourself.
“On the other side, there is the positive of the team winning and moving forward. Hopefully we can take that to the World Cup and I can get my own medal.”
One of a plethora of back-row options in a strong 28-man party, Hankin is aware that breaking into Nick Walshe’s starting XV will be difficult. However, he is well aware of what is required.
“I respect the other guys and the way they play,” added the 20 year-old. “All I can do is train hard and play well when I get my chance to secure my place.
Photo: Getty Images
“The original Under 18s back row was me, [David] Sisi and [Jack] Clifford, so it would be nice to get back in there and reunite with those guys."
With England set to open the Junior World Championship with a tricky encounter against hosts France on June 5, Hankin finished by describing the up-beat, industrious mood around the Under 20s’ camp – one helped by the visit of Paralympic legend David Weir yesterday.
“It’s been quite intense,” he explained. “On the first Monday back all the boys were really excited about training again and we had a really long, tough session.
“Obviously, we want to build on last year and we have a strong enough squad. We beat France during the Six Nations, but they will be different team at home.
“Hopefully we can get some momentum into the next group game against South Africa, who will be a tough outfit as well – we can’t even think about the play-offs yet.
“[David Weir] is obviously a really inspirational guy. He spoke to us and told us how to go about things the best way, basically by not getting too excited or too worked up.
“I’m sure that will really hit home with the team and we can go out to France and be successful.”