Land Rover, a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, has surprised a lucky young resident of Solihull with the news that he will be an official Mascot at the Tournament. William Cartwright recently had an unexpected visit from a former Rugby World Cup star as his training session with Silhillians RUFC was interrupted by former England International Paul Sackey. 

Sackey, a finalist with England at Rugby World Cup 2007, surprised 8-year-old William with the news that he will be one of the 96 official Rugby World Cup 2015 Mascots, chosen by Land Rover.

He was chosen as a mascot for Rugby World Cup 2015 as a result of Land Rover’s international search for Mascots, as part of their #WeDealInReal campaign. Land Rover is using its position as a proud Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015 to shine a spotlight on grassroots rugby. As part of this campaign, Land Rover is recruiting all 96 official Mascots from grassroots clubs around the world, including one Mascot from each participating nation, giving the next generation of Rugby’s stars the chance to be at the heart of the action on the Game’s biggest stage.

William, a member of Silhillians RUFC, was one of 40 children, nominated by Jaguar Land Rover employees, who were invited to a Land Rover audition day and asked to complete one of three challenges to show why they would make a great Mascot. These challenges included giving a passionate rendition of a Rugby World Cup team’s national anthem, offering some words of inspiration and advice to one of the nations’ captains or explaining how they would welcome a visiting Rugby World Cup nation to England for the Tournament.

In his audition, he gave sound advice to a prospective team captain ahead of taking the field at Rugby World Cup 2015. “What I would say to the captain of a Rugby World Cup team is that there are 30 million people around the world watching this game but more importantly 30 children in my class at school watching as well. So if you trip up and fall over on the way out of this tunnel, I’m carrying on without you. OK?!”

Paul Sackey arrived unannounced at one of William’s regular Thursday evening training sessions at Silhillians RUFC to give the young Rugby fan the news that he will be escorting one of the teams onto the turf at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Bronze Final on 30 October.

Sackey, who played in six games across England’s Rugby World Cup 2007 campaign, said: “Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of the world Game and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young William to take to the field come October. Certainly it was a privilege to be involved in the Tournament in 2007 and the chance to be so close to the action must be a dream for a young Rugby fan. There was an electric atmosphere at that stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games and I’m sure the crowd will give William a warm welcome.”