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Saracens fan set to be Rugby World Cup mascot

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A Whetstone school pupil could barely contain his delight after being surprised by Land Rover and some of Saracens biggest stars with the news that he will be an official Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot.

Declan Sharp will not have had a better day at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary School than on Tuesday when his lesson was interrupted by Saracens Billy Vunipola and Kelly Brown.

They were there to surprise Sharp with the news that following an audition at the Saracens Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup back in October the nine-year-old had been chosen as an official Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot.

Sharp, who plays for Saracens Under-11s, 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’s literally amazing, I was gobsmacked when I found out," he said.

"I was just in my classroom doing a science lesson when the head teacher walked in and asked me to stand up.

"To start with I thought I was about to get told off but then Billy and Kelly walked in and I found out I had been picked.

"Back at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, I went in front of the camera and had to give my advice for before a game.

"I said to get down low to tackle and then pass the ball out to the wing so the team could score a try.

"Never did I ever think I would get picked to be a mascot. It’s been great to meet the players, they were both really friendly and kind.

"I think I will be a bit nervous when I am the mascot but also excited too. I’m a Saracens and England fan so I hope England win.”

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 Sarries No.8 Vunipola admitted that days such as Tuesday were invaluable for helping to promote rugby at all levels.

"It was great to go down to Declan’s school and surprise him, I think he was quite stuck for words to begin with," said Vunipola.

"His family were obviously very proud and all his class mates got to see him being surprised. I think he will do a great job as a mascot.

"For us as players as well, it’s good to be able to give something back to the younger generation.

"Initiatives such as this are massively important, it gives people like Declan the chance to be a part of a Rugby World Cup and something to treasure for years to come.

"After all, everyone that plays rugby comes through from grassroots level, so young players watching the Rugby World Cup can hopefully be inspired."

If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 30 May, and be in with a chance of becoming a Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot, tickets are still available from premiershiprugby.com/final. Junior tickets start at £12.50.
 

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