Two Ilkeston students have shared a once-in-a-lifetime experience by stepping out at Twickenham ahead of the RBS Six Nations clash between England and Wales.
Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy pupil Ben Whitby, 15, and Kirk Hallam Community College student, Tom Caines, 15, won the opportunity after helping to design new rugby shirts for their school teams as part of a nationwide initiative.
Ben, of Shipley View, attended the presentation on Sunday at England Rugby HQ with his dad and said it was an amazing day.
“When we arrived in the stadium there were more than 80,000 people in there and the atmosphere was crazy,” he said. “We were stood behind players on the pitch, I’ve never experienced anything like that before.
“I was standing there wearing the shirt and I felt very proud, even though it was a bit nerve-racking.”
Ben and Tom attended design workshops organised by the Rugby Football Union, kit manufacturer Canterbury and All Schools during which they watched videos and looked at other rugby shirts to help them come up with ideas for their own.
One hundred schools from across the country took part in the initiative and one member of each design team was invited to attend the presentation on the pitch at Twickenham before helping to sing the National Anthem.
All Schools, of which Prince Harry is patron, is a long-term programme dedicated to introducing rugby into more secondary state schools. By the time Rugby World Cup 2019 arrives, All Schools aims to have increased the number of state secondary schools playing rugby by 50%.