ASPIRING rugby player Jake Lovelock will make his Twickenham debut at the age of 13 as England’s national team square up to Wales in the RBS Six Nations next month.
The Kingsdown School pupil will not be wearing the white of England however – instead, he will be kitted out in the red and black of his school, in the very shirt he had a hand in creating as part of a national workshop.
As a participating institution in All Schools, England Rugby’s programme to help more secondary state schools play rugby, Kingsdown was invited to ask four of its pupils to design a custom shirt to be worn on March 9 ahead of the Anglo-Welsh clash.
Initially picked as one of the four to design the shirt by PE teacher Wayne Grant, Jake’s luck came in when his name was drawn out of a hat to go on and wear the shirt at Twickenham.
“My name was drawn out in an assembly for the year group and I was so excited,” he said.
“My parents were quite pleased when I told them, though they want to go as well. They were happy that I get the chance to go though.”
Jake plays rugby, among other sports, for the school. It was his credentials as a starter for his school team which gave him an advantage in designing the shirt, he said.
“It was just a PE lesson and because I play rugby for the school I was chosen as one of the four to go down and create a rugby shirt for the school.
“I’m a big rugby fan. I have watched some of the Six Nations already, but this is a great game to go and watch live against Wales.”
The shirt was based around a chequered design, with red and black used as the predominant colours to represent Kingsdown.
A white lion was also included on the left breast to accommodate the school’s logo, with white paws at the foot of the shirt on the back.
The shirt will be manufactured by Canterbury, England’s official kit supplier, and made available for Jake to wear on the day.
Twickenham can seat 82,000 spectators, with the venue expected to sell out for such a huge clash.
The number of people looking on is an exciting prospect for Jake, who lives in Callaghan Close, though nerves are beginning to creep in.
“I have never been before, so I don’t know what to expect. I am excited, but nervous because there are so many people there.”
The shirts will be revealed by the pupils on the pitch as they appear alongside soprano Laura Wright who will sing the national anthems ahead of the clash between the rival nations.