A teenager shared the Twickenham pitch with some of the biggest stars in rugby when he was invited to sing the national anthem – and pick up his school’s new sports strip.
Matthew Shaw, a Year 11 student at Shirebrook Academy, was one of 100 pupils from across the country chosen to represent their school as part of the pre-match events before the recent England versus Ireland RBS Six Nations international.
The fifteen-year-old, of Shirebrook, had been invited to Twickenham as part of an event organised by rugby strip manufacturers Canterbury as part of the Rugby Football Union’s All Schools scheme, which aims to get more youngsters involved in the sport.
Shirebrook Academy is a member of the scheme and earlier this year a group of its students designed their own rugby shirt, which features a diagonal stripe design and incorporates the school’s tri-colour scheme.
Canterbury have since despatched 19 of the shirts to the academy but asked for a representative to attend England’s match for an official launch. As part of the day, Matthew was treated to lunch at Twickenham, he took part in a line up to welcome the teams, sang the national anthem and then watched the match, which England won 21-10.
Matthew said: “I felt so proud and honoured to be on the pitch representing my school at the home of England rugby during a Six Nations match and the atmosphere was out of this world.
“It was an amazing experience which I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Pupils at Shirebrook Academy have only recently taken up rugby and Louise Hawker, head of PE, said that they have shown a great deal of enthusiasm and no shortage of talent.
Louise said: “Going onto the pitch at Twickenham in front of a full house at a Six Nations international is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we are delighted for Matthew that he got to enjoy the occasion.
“Matthew is one of our school sports ambassadors and he is a huge rugby fan, so it was fitting that he represented us at Twickenham.
“The shirts look great and everybody will be able to wear the shirts with pride when they represent the academy.”