Rory revels in ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ as mascot for Rugby World Cup

Shota Horie and Rory Hammond

Shota Horie and Rory Hammond

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A 10-year-old rugby fan revelled in a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead a team out at a Rugby World Cup match.

Rory Hammond from Wolverton was an official mascot for Japan for their match against Scotland yesterday.

Rory, who has wanted to be a rugby player since he was five years old, said it was a “dream come true” when he walked out on the pitch at Gloucester’s Kingsholm stadium in front of 16,000 people – and millions more at home.

Rory, who plays for Towcestrians RFC, said: “Walking out in front of the TV cameras and all those people watching was really amazing – plus the Japan captain was right behind me.

“The noise of the crowd and the atmosphere was just incredible.” The St Mary and St Giles School pupil was picked from hundreds of young hopefuls across the country to be a mascot in the Rugby World Cup after auditioning via video.

Councillor Hannah O’Neill, Deputy Leader for Milton Keynes Council said: “To have a local boy from Milton Keynes lead out a team at Rugby World Cup is fantastic.

“I am so pleased for Rory; this is a wonderfully exciting opportunity to be right in the thick of it.

“Maybe one day he will be one of the players being led out by a mascot at a Rugby World Cup.”