Wittering youngster Brooke Fleming admits she will never forget her moment in the spotlight after playing her part in New Zealand’s triumph as one of Land Rover’s Rugby World Cup 2015 official mascots.
Rugby fan Fleming was handed the responsibility of walking out alongside the All Blacks for their 34-17 final victory over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
It came after the Wittering resident was informed that, following an audition at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials earlier in the year, she had been chosen as one of 96 official Rugby World Cup mascots.
And while emotions were high ahead of running out in front of thousands of spectators, Fleming carried out her job superbly, walking out with the teams and then lining up in front of the Kiwi players for the national anthems.
Her memorable day out continued when she then took a seat in the crowd to cheer on the action, with ten-year-old Fleming admitting she couldn’t have asked for a better experience of Rugby World Cup 2015.
“It was a really good experience,” she said. “I really enjoyed meeting the players and being part of the final was amazing.
“Before the game Richie McCaw asked me if I was excited which was great. I am a big rugby fan so to be in the World Cup final was a dream come true.
“Even just getting to Twickenham was amazing but then walking out onto the pitch and being a mascot was really fun. It was really loud when we walked out of the tunnel.”
Land Rover’s selection of mascots from around the country 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.
Lawrence Dallaglio is one man who knows about the pressure of performing in front of a large audience, having helped England lift the trophy in 2003, and the Land Rover ambassador admitted he had been impressed with how Fleming rose to the occasion.
“It is a big responsibility to be picked as a mascot for a home Rugby World Cup but Brooke did a fantastic job,” said Dallaglio.
“So many people will have been watching in the stadium and all around the world and Brooke can always say that she played a part in the country hosting the competition in 2015.
“I’ve no doubt the experience will live with the mascots for a very long time and hopefully it can inspire them going forward, whether that’s maybe one day playing for their country or just continuing to enjoy the sport of rugby which is what it’s all about really.
“It’s great to have young players from all around the country involved in Rugby World Cup 2015 by inviting them to be mascots.
“All those international players competing on the pitch would have come through from grassroots level, so the mascots will have got a real sense of what can be achieved.”
Land Rover is a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015 and is recruiting all 96 official mascots for the Tournament as part of its ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal