Blackley youngster Nathan Davis-Garbutt admits he will never forget his moment in the spotlight after getting the chance to run out as one of Land Rover’s Rugby World Cup 2015 official mascots.
Rugby fan Davis-Garbutt was handed the responsibility of walking out alongside the USA for their 39-16 Pool D defeat to Scotland at Elland Road on Sunday.
It came after the former Sedgley Park player was informed that following an audition at the Sale Sharks Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup last season, he 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, 11-year-old Davis-Garbutt – who is set to join Sale – carried out his job superbly, walking out with the teams and then lining up in front of the Romania players for the national anthems.
His memorable day out continued when he then took a seat in the crowd to cheer on the action, with Davis-Garbutt admitting he couldn’t have asked for a better experience of Rugby World Cup 2015.
“It was really good,” he said. “The best bit was going out on the pitch with the players because that was really exciting and the atmosphere was great.
“I spoke to the USA captain and he was asking me where I played rugby and then he told me where he started out and it was really nice.
“To think I was part of the World Cup is amazing and it is a day I will always remember.”
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 Davis-Garbutt rose to the occasion.
“It is a big responsibility to be picked as a mascot for a home Rugby World Cup but Nathan did a fantastic job,” said Dallaglio.
“So many people will have been watching in the stadium and all around the world and Murray can always say that he 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