Wandsworth youngster Louis Partridge will never forget his moment in the spotlight after getting the chance to run out as one of Land Rover’s Rugby World Cup 2015 official mascots.
Rugby fan Partridge was handed the responsibility of walking out alongside England for their 28-25 Pool A defeat to Wales at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.
It came after the Battersea Ironsides player was informed that following an audition at the Harlequins Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup last season, he had been chosen as one of 96 official Rugby World Cup mascots.
And while emotions were high ahead of running out in front of thousands of spectators, 12-year-old Partridge carried out his job superbly, walking out with the teams and then lining up in front of the England players for the national anthems.
His memorable day out continued when he then took a seat in the crowd to cheer on the action, with Dulwich Prep London pupil Partridge admitting he couldn’t have asked for a better experience of Rugby World Cup 2015.
“It was amazing,” he said. “Nothing could have prepared me for the roar of the crowd when I walked out with the team.
“Everybody said it was going to be loud but it was just amazing and louder than I could have imagined.
“Despite the result it was a great day as I got some autographs and did some interviews before and after the game, it was the best day of my life.
“And my mum was happy too, because she is Welsh and my dad is English and she got to meet Gareth Edwards so she was really pleased.”
Land Rover’s selection of mascots from around the country forms part of their ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign that aims to put grassroots rugby on the global stage during this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Lawrence Dallaglio is one man who knows about the pressure of performing in front of a large audience, having helped England lift the trophy in 2003, and the Land Rover ambassador admitted he had been impressed with how Partridge rose to the occasion.
“It is a big responsibility to be picked as a mascot for a home Rugby World Cup but Louis did a fantastic job,” said Dallaglio.
“So many people will have been watching in the stadium and all around the world and Louis can always say that he played a part in the country hosting the competition in 2015.
“I’ve no doubt the experience will live with the mascots for a very long time and hopefully it can inspire them going forward, whether that’s maybe one day playing for their country or just continuing to enjoy the sport of rugby which is what it’s all about really.
“It’s great to have young players from all around the country involved in Rugby World Cup 2015 by inviting them to be mascots.
“All those international players competing on the pitch would have come through from grassroots level, so the mascots will have got a real sense of what can be achieved.”
Land Rover is a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015 and is recruiting all 96 official mascots for the Tournament as part of its ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal