Fringe Box



Exemplary Guildford Boy Leads Out England’s World Cup Rugby Team

Published on: 18 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 21 Oct, 2023

“How are you feeling?” Owen Farrell gives a reassuring word as he takes Cillian Crone’s hand to lead the England side onto the pitch at Marseille Getty Images

A young rugby fan from Sutton Green near Guildford had a weekend he won’t ever forget after playing an important role during Rugby World Cup, in France.

Cillian Crone, seven, led England onto the pitch against Fiji in Marseille as a “Defender of Tomorrow” and Mascot ahead of the two teams battling it out at the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

And he brought good luck. Skipper Farrell’s drop goal brought the England team victory in a tightly contested match.

Cillian said: “It was everything I hoped for. I was a little nervous in the build-up, but once I was in the tunnel, I absolutely loved it. Owen Farrell was really nice and the moment we walked out onto the pitch, with 60,000 fans roaring, is something I’ll never forget.”

His father, Jamie Crone, said: “The weekend has been incredible. We’ve had every one of his friends, family members, teachers and teammates reach out to congratulate him. So, a massive thanks to you guys and everyone at Defender for this magical experience”.

The inspiring seven-year-old, who attends Send Primary School and plays for the under 8s at Reeds, Weybridge RFC, was awarded the role in recognition of his efforts to support those in Ukraine by sending packages of goods.

In a video submission, Cillian shared his inspiring story: how he had collected clothes, coats and toys and sent them all the way to Ukraine for those in need. Not only that, but he and his brothers sent out more items to those in Turkey who dealt with the earthquake in Easter which a spokesperson for sponsors Defender (Jaguar and Range Rover) said marked Cillian out as a true Defender of Tomorrow.

Cillian standing next to the England team as the national anthems are played Getty Images

As part of a “mascot programme”, 96 children have been chosen from around the world by Defender, Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2023, for their dedication to making a difference to local communities.

Each exceptional hero gets a turn to lead the teams as they walk out onto the pitch throughout the tournament.

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