Raunds pupil unveils rugby shirt at Twickenham

Lauren with Billy Vunipola.
Lauren with Billy Vunipola.

A Raunds pupil unveiled her school’s new rugby shirt on the hallowed Twickenham pitch before England faced Italy in the Six Nations.

Manor School Sports College pupil Lauren Ward, 15, had the experience of a lifetime as she walked on to the pitch before the national anthems, before watching the game from the stands and meeting star Billy Vunipola.

The opportunity came as part of the CBRE All Schools programme, launched in 2012 by the Rugby Football Union, which aims to get more state secondary schools playing rugby and encourage students to join local clubs.

Lauren was one of 100 students from across England who were picked to unveil their new shirts in front of thousands of rugby supporters on behalf of their respective schools.

Lauren, who was joined by teacher Jamie Hollamby, said: “There were four of us in the running to come here to represent the school and when they told me I would be coming I was so excited, it means so much to me.

“We have our school crest on the front going round to the back so that when you wear it, people can see the whole thing.

“We included the school slogan on the back so that everything to do with our school is on it.

“It says ‘success for all’.”

Also in attendance at Twickenham on the day were pupils from Ferrers School and Rushden Academy, who are also a member of the CBRE All Schools programme and joined Lauren on the pitch.

Each shirt was individually designed by the school children at Canterbury kit design workshops last year.

Pupils worked with Canterbury employees to learn about the core values of rugby, the pride associated with the shirt and the importance of colours, logos and emblems.

England and Saracens No 8 Vunipola was also on hand at the kit unveil to share his experience of what it means to represent England, the importance of the shirt and take centre stage at Twickenham on match day.

He said: “It’s great to see more state secondary schools getting involved in rugby through the CBRE All Schools programme.

“The atmosphere in Twickenham on match day is very special and it’s fantastic that the students got to experience it first-hand.

“Who knows, maybe one of them will be playing for England one day!”

Chris Stephenson, CEO of Canterbury, said: “This is our fourth year as Official Partner of the All Schools programme – something we are extremely proud to be part of.

“The students did their schools proud by wearing a shirt they designed at such a huge game.

“Hopefully some special memories were made.”

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.