SCHOOL pupils are set to step onto the hallowed Twickenham turf today ahead of England’s game against Italy.
The Peterlee students took part of an England Rugby initiative aimed at getting more youngsters into the sport.
Kane Thornton, of Dene Community School, Billie Matthews, of St Bede’s and Byron Sixth Form College, and Matthew Ellwood, of Shotton Hall Academy, will take to the field before kick-off of England’s Six Nations clash with Italy today.
The three will each be wearing a rugby shirt designed by students from their respective schools at a Canterbury Kit Workshop last year.
Kane, 12, Billie, 16, and Matthew, 13, attended the workshop at Horden RFC where they were given an interactive lesson on the history of rugby shirts before being given free reign to design their own.
The only stipulation was that the design had to be the pupils’ choice with no outside influence from teachers.
John Pratt, assistant head teacher at Dene, said: “The kit will be very useful, rugby is a growing sport at the school and to have a student on the pitch will aid our publicity.
“Kane is a big rugby fan and he’s very excited and honoured that he’s been chosen to walk out at Twickenham.
“He’s getting full hospitality from the RFU including match tickets, a guided tour of Twickenham and a chance to meet the players.”
Now the winning designs will be produced by England kit supplier, Canterbury, for Saturday. The workshops were part of the All Schools Programme, an initiative that intends to get secondary schools playing rugby.
Each year 100 state secondary schools are invited to take part, and each school will have a representative in their unique shirt on the Twickenham pitch with Kane, Billie and Matthew.
England beat Wales 21-16 in Cardiff last Friday night to make them join top of the group with Ireland and France.