Will Hooley is ready to seize his Saints chance in the LV= Cup as he takes over the 10 shirt from Stephen Myler.
Myler linked up with the England squad this week and will hope to do enough to secure a place in the matchday squad for the clash with New Zealand on November 8.
That leaves Saints needing to fill their fly-half void, and Hooley is relishing the chance to step up.
The 20-year-old impressed in the absence of Myler in an Aviva Premiership win at Newcastle in September, registering 18 points.
And he will now look to kick on when the Falcons come calling in the LV= Cup clash at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
“With the LV= Cup just around the corner and Stephen quite rightly being in the England squad it could give me even more opportunities,” said Hooley.
“Stephen and I get on well on and off the pitch though, which I think really helps.
“I’m sure he won’t mind me saying but I think the age gap probably helps as well.
“I’m 20 and he’s nearly ten years older which is great because I can feed off his experience and I try to bring a bit of energy.
“We have good fun together off the pitch – it’s not all just talking about being a fly-half but I certainly learn a lot from him and I think he understands that I want to improve and slot into the fly-half role at some point.”
Hooley made his first-team debut in an LV= Cup pool match against Saracens at the Gardens in February, landing a penalty and a conversion in a 20-16 win.
And he is now ready to use the competition as a springboard once again as he bids to stake his claim for inclusion in the Premiership and Champions Cup squads.
“My debut was was in the LV= Cup against Saracens and the whole competition gave me the incentive to try and maintain a spot in the first team and to play Premiership rugby as well,” said Hooley.
“For any young player in the country, the LV= Cup is such an incentive to play in a cup competition and kick you on for bigger things.
“It’s about putting yourself under pressure in front of a bigger crowd, on a cup stage when the TV cameras might be there and you’re wearing the first-team shirt.
“I’ve been part of the Northampton academy since I was 12 and all I’ve wanted to do is wear that No.10 shirt for the Saints. I know it sounds clichéd but it’s true.
“So to get that opportunity in whatever competition, including the LV= Cup, is a big honour and something I take very seriously.”
Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets