Playing in the Rugby World Cup on home soil might have come a bit too soon for John Hawkins, but he has his sights set on making it there one day.
The 18-year-old from Eaton Bray has ambitions to play at the very top level, and there’s no reason why he can’t.
Having already pulled on the famous red rose of England at U18s level, flanker John sees no reason why he can’t make it all the way to the very top.
“My main ambition in the game is to play in the Premiership and for England,” he said. “I’m also looking to coach rugby or teach PE.
“I feel privileged to have been part of the England U16 and U17 squads.
“Singing the national anthem before the France game was the proudest moment of my life.”
Having started his career with Dunstablians as an eight-year-old, Hawkins impressed everywhere he has played.
His performances on the pitch earned him a rugby scholarship at Stowe School, quickly becoming captain of the team before being picked up by the Northampton Saints Junior Academy.
John’s honours already span England South at the Wellington Festival and he played for the England U17 team that beat France 29-25 in April last year.
And this year, he broke into the U18s side back in February. Coming up against France again, John helped England to a 23-5 victory.
Last month though, he could do little to prevent Wales from running out 23-15 winners.
Having played rugby all his life, it was only a few years ago he found his ideal position, and from there, he hasn’t looked back.
He said: “I once played at No.10 for my middle school before they realised I was better suited for the forwards.
“Franklin’s Gardens is the ground I like the most. I admire Tom Wood for his work rate and Lewis Moody because he was always prepared to put his body on the line for his team no matter what.”
John is certainly no stranger to rugby. His dad Jim is a former Northampton Colts, Bedfordshire and East Midlands player, so rugby has always been a way of life for him.
Jim admits though that watching his son represent England is among the proudest moments of his life.
“I’ve watched England all over the world, but watching him play for them topped it all for me,” he said. “He’s in the top four in his position in the country, so there’s no doubt he’s a talent, and it’s up to him now to see how far he goes.
“I’d love to see him pull on the England shirt at Twickenham - you just never know!”