By Jill Dando News
Awesome Ava, 9, is to walk the England rugby team out at Twickenham alongside the grandson of the first ever black player 115 years ago and the son of England’s first ever black captain.
The superb Somerset pupil is to be mascot at the incredibly historic world rugby match between England and South Africa match at Twickenham. tomorrow – 115 years since the debut of the first ever black England player Jimmy Peters.
In an historic double bill, it is also 17 years since Jason Robinson became the first Black captain of the England rugby union team.
Ava, a pupil of the brilliant Pawlett Primary School Academy, near Bridgwater in Somerset, part of The Priory Learning Trust, is over the moon at her mascot role.
The most historic game for decades will celebrate England’s first ever black rugby union player Jimmy Peters who made his debut in 1906.
History maker Jimmy also represented Ava’s county residence of Somerset as a rugby player between 1900 and 1903.
History was made again in 2004, when Jason became the first Black captain of the England rugby union team.
In an emotional touch for the watching millions, Ava will lead the team out alongside Jimmy’s grandson and Jason’s son.
Rugby loving Ava has played the sport since the age of 6 at Burnham-on-sea RFC and can hardly wait for the match.
Dad Dave who will be at the game along with wife Becky and Ava’s brother Ronnie, said: “We are all over the moon with this and Ava is incredibly excited. She has wanted to be a mascot for a long, long time.”
School Principal Emma Barker said: “Ava is an outstanding and enthusiastic pupil and our whole school community are super thrilled at her once in a lifetime experience.”:
Jimmy Peters had a remarkable life. From his Jamaican circus showman father being mauled to death by a lion, to his abandonment, to representing his country and then ultimately being banned by his sport, there is a huge story to tell.
As the first black man to play rugby union for England, between 1906 and 1908, he was a pioneer.
But Peters sadly did not pave the way for other black players – it was 80 years before a black player would wear the red rose again.
Jason was known as Billy Whizz because of his speed on the pitch.
Playing as a wing or fullback he won 51 rugby union international caps for England.
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