- Club mascots to accompany players against South Africa
- Lancaster in full support of grassroots initiative
Photo: Getty Images
England rugby will cement its connection with the grassroots game at this month’s QBE International clash against South Africa by inviting young players from the senior squad’s formative clubs to be mascots.
Each mascot will get the chance to run out alongside the player in their club kit in front of 82,000 people at Twickenham on November 24. If “their” player is injured or not selected for the XV to face the Springboks the mascots will still be able to watch the game from the stands and enjoy a memorable day at the Home of England Rugby.
“The England players take the responsibility of representing the country very seriously, on and off the field,” said England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster. “They feel they represent not just themselves, but also their family, friends and all those that have helped them on their journey, so it was important to offer this opportunity.”
The 30 plus chosen mascots were invited yesterday to an England training session at Pennyhill Park in Surrey courtesy of O2, where they were able to watch the squad train in their build up to this weekend’s match against Fiji. The mascots were able to meet the players afterwards and were given England memorabilia.
“We are working hard to develop England Rugby at all levels and to strengthen the connections from the grassroots to the England senior team,” said RFU Rugby Development Officer Steve Grainger. “England players start out their involvement in the game at local clubs across the country – this is a great opportunity to celebrate with those clubs and to raise the profile of where the players have come from – hopefully inspiring the next generation to believe that they too can one day play for England.”
Clubs are also being encouraged to celebrate the occasion on match day to enjoy and reflect on the very real contribution it has made to the success of English rugby by screening the game in its clubhouse.