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England team go back to their roots

22 November 2012

  • Saturday's England mascots from players' formative clubs
  • RFU working to strengthen connections with grassroots rugby
Grassroots mascots at Pennyhill Park

Photo: RFU Archive

Youngsters from the England senior squad's formative clubs will run out alongside their heroes at the QBE International against South Africa.

The 23 mascots, all playing at Under-12 level, will step onto the pitch at Twickenham on Saturday in their club kit alongside ‘their’ player.

Several other mascots for senior England players who are not in the match day squad will also enjoy a special day out at the Home of England Rugby. This follows a trip to Pennyhill Park, Surrey on November 5 where O2, a long-standing partner of the RFU and keen supporter of grassroots rugby, welcomed the 30 plus Under-12s to watch the squad train and meet the players afterwards.

England connected

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “The entire squad and I enjoyed meeting all the young players at Pennyhill Park earlier this month – by all accounts I think they had a fantastic time. We’re looking forward to seeing them at Twickenham on Saturday. The England players take the responsibility of representing the country very seriously, on and off the field. They feel they don’t just represent themselves, but their family, friends and all those that have helped them on their journey as well; so it was important to offer this opportunity.”

England Captain Chris Robshaw added: “It was great to meet the young players and be reminded of the many junior clubs from where we came. We all started playing junior rugby and we wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for these clubs. This is a great way to recognise their contribution and say thank you to them all."

The RFU is working to develop England Rugby at all levels and to strengthen the connections from the grassroots to the England senior team.

RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger commented: “England players start out their involvement in the game at local clubs across the country. We think this is a great opportunity to celebrate the connection with those clubs and to hopefully inspire the next generation to believe that they too can one day play for England.”

Clubs across the country will be celebrating the occasion on match day by screening the game in their clubhouse. England Rugby partners BMW, Canterbury, Greene King, O2 and QBE have all supported the initiative, helping to take the Twickenham match day atmosphere to the local community.

England team to face South Africa

15. Alex Goode - Jake Herrington (Cambridge RFC)
14. Chris Ashton - Aaron Povall (Orrell St James ARLFC)
13. Manusamoa Tuilagi - Bayley Smith (Hinckley RFC)
12. Brad Barritt - James Sugden (Old Albanian RFC)
11. Mike Brown - Jordan Jones (Salisbury RFC)
10. Toby Flood - William Ormiston Stewart (Alnwick RFC)
9. Ben Youngs - Rob Mackenzie (Holt RFC)

1. Alex Corbisiero - Jack Reid (KCS Old Boys RFC)
2. Tom Youngs - Oliver Jaggard (Holt RFC)
3. Dan Cole - Charlie Jackson (South Leicester RFC)
4. Joe Launchbury - Ewan Johnston (Barnet Elizabethans RFC)
5. Geoff Parling - Josh Crozier (Stockton RFC)
6. Tom Wood - Finn Griffiths (Barkers' Butts RFC)
7. Chris Robshaw - Archie McMillan (Warlingham RFC)
8. Ben Morgan - Esme Harper-Coles (Dursley RFC)

Replacements
16. David Paice - Peatrick Shehy (Reading RFC)
17. David Wilson - Will Etchells (Westoe RFC)
18. Mako Vunipola - Cameron Jackson (Thornbury RFC)
19. Mouritz Botha - Finn Cassell (Bedford Athletic)
20 James Haskell - Josh Henderson (Maidenhead RFC)
21. Danny Care - Jack Booth (West Park Leeds RFC)
22. Owen Farrell - Dylan Anglesea (Wigan St Patrick's RLFC)
23. Jonathan Joseph - Billy Willis (Derby RFC)