Land Rover searched the length and breadth of the UK for youngsters to become official mascots for the Rugby World Cup
We've scoured the country to offer young rugby players the chance to become official mascots for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Rugby legend and former England Captain Lewis Moody helped us unearth the majority of these mascots from grassroots rugby.
Learn more about our search for Rugby World Cup 2015 mascots
The 96 Rugby World Cup 2015 mascots include one from each participating nation. However, the majority were recruited in the UK through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, a longstanding national series of grassroots rugby festivals for U11 and U12, run in conjunction with Premiership Rugby.
To be in with a chance of winning a Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot place at grassroots festivals, entrants (aged between 7 and 13 years old) had to participate in a short audition, undertaking one of three challenges to show why they would make a great mascot. These challenges included giving a passionate rendition of a Rugby World Cup 2015 team’s national anthem, offering some words of inspiration and advice to one of the nation’s captains, or telling us how they would welcome a visiting Rugby World Cup 2015 nation to England for the Tournament.
Highlights from our global mascot search
Young rugby players and fans auditioned ahead of the Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on May 30th 2015. Auditions were held outside the Stadium in the South Car Park, and were open to members of the public.
All auditions are reviewed by a panel of judges, including Rugby World Cup 2003 winners Lewis Moody and Jason Robinson.
Having played in three Rugby World Cups, former England Captain Lewis Moody, commented:
"It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for youngsters to be at the very heart of the biggest occasion in the rugby calendar"
“Having played on that stage, there is no greater honour than walking out for your country during a Rugby World Cup, so for the lucky mascots who are selected it will be a truly memorable experience.
Land Rover has a long history in grassroots rugby as well as at the top level of the sport, so it’s a natural fit that they will be getting to the roots of rugby to find these lucky Rugby World Cup 2015 mascots.”
Rugby stars visit delighted winners
Leigh Halfpenny surprises young Finlay with the good news
Delighted winners were rewarded for their passionate auditions with the surprise of a lifetime, as their rugby heroes visited them to deliver the good news in person.
12 year-old Ethan from Manchester was paid a visit at school by Sale Sharks captain Dan Braid and teammates, and could hardly believe his luck. “It was a big surprise when the players walked in with my P.E teacher. When I found out that I had won the chance to be a mascot I was over the moon.”
It’s clear that the visiting players also relish these occasions. Having just visited young Callum from Englefield, England star Mike Brown admitted he was fortunate to be able to share his love of the game. “It was really nice to have the chance to really make his day,” said the Harlequins fullback.
Ethan and Callum are just two of several youngsters to have met their heroes; England trio Ben Youngs, George Ford, and Tom Youngs have been to schools around the country to announce winners, as have George North and Billy Vunipola.
Follow @LandRoverRugby for updates on our mascot programme and the rest of our Rugby World Cup 2015 activity.