'Dream come true' for Mitchel Turley as Ridgeway Academy's new rugby shirt is unveiled at Twickenham
PUBLISHED: 14:57 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:19 12 March 2019
A young fan from Ridgeway Academy in Welwyn Garden City got the experience of a lifetime when he unveiled the school's new rugby shirt in front of thousands at Twickenham ahead of England's Six Nations clash with Italy.
Mitchel Turley took his place on the hallowed surface moments before the 57-14 win for Eddie Jones’ men.
The opportunity came as part of the CBRE All Schools programme, launched in 2012 by the RFU to get more children playing rugby and joining their local clubs.
Turley was one of 62 students from across England picked to unveil the new kits and the 13-year-old admitted the whole day, which also saw him meet England international Sam Underhill, would live long in the memory.
“It was amazing to be able to create my own shirt, we had lots of fun with it and it turned out amazing,” said the Year 9 pupil.
“I never imagined it would look this good. It looks so much better in person and being able to work with my friends to create it makes it even more special.
“I loved being able to meet Sam Underhill and [England women’s international] Zoe Aldcroft and while I’d been on a tour around Twickenham, I’d never watched a game before.
“I just wanted England to win so I’m glad they did and the experience of going out on the pitch beforehand was something I’ll never forget.
“It was a dream come true.”
Each shirt was individually designed by the school children at Canterbury kit design workshops last year where pupils learned about the core values of rugby, the pride associated with the shirt and the importance of colours, logos and emblems.
Underhill said: “We’ve seen such a range of kids, different shapes and sizes, boys and girls, and everyone seems to genuinely enjoy their rugby which is what it’s all about.
“The great thing about rugby, whether you’re grassroots or semi-professional, professional, it’s still the same game.
“The more people playing the better and growing the game to schools and people that wouldn’t normally have played otherwise is fantastic.”
CBRE All Schools supported by Canterbury is one of the RFU’s key legacy programmes, set up to increase the number of state secondary schools playing rugby union in England.
Visit www.englandrugby.com/allschools to find out more.