A Manchester school pupil could barely contain his delight after being surprised by Land Rover and some of Sale Sharks biggest stars with the news that he will be an official Rugby World Cup mascot.
Ethan Hofton will not have had a better day at King David’s High School than during a recent science lesson which was interrupted by Sale Sharks captain Dan Braid, Tom Brady and Ciaran Parker.
They were there to surprise Hofton with the news that following an audition at the Sale Sharks Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup back in October the 12-year-old has been chosen as an official Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot.
Hofton, who plays for Stockport Rugby Club, will be one of 48 official mascots chosen through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, a series of national grassroots tournaments, and he admits he is now counting down the days.
"It was a big surprise when the players walked in and they came in with my PE teacher so I originally thought I was in trouble," said Hofton.
"But when I found out that I had won the chance to be a mascot I was over the moon and I can’t wait to see what game I will be a part of now.
"My audition at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup was to give a message to the England team at half-time of the World Cup Final and I just told them that it was OK because even if they lost they would still be the second best team in the world.
"I am a big Sale Sharks fan too so to have the players come in and tell me was amazing – this is probably my best day at school ever."
Land Rover’s search for mascots 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.
And Sale captain Braid said that for a club like Sale Sharks days like Thursday are invaluable.
"It was good surprising Ethan at his school like that. He was really happy as he is a Sale fan and we were more than happy to come down and see the smile on his face," he added.
"Rugby World Cup 2015 is going to be good for rugby in England right down to grassroots level and for a club like Sale we hope it will boost the numbers of those playing the game to help it grow.
"Ethan is going to have a tremendous experience at Rugby World Cup 2015 now and I know he is looking forward to it starting like we all are."