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PICTURES: Rugby juniors put questions to the Kiwis and Sonny Bill Williams
9:39am Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
Sonny Bill Williams is pictured taking questions from young players, including Thatto Heath’s Joseph Kilgannon (right) Jade Ward (left) and Pippa Birchall.
A HOST of junior rugby league players put their questions to New Zealand’s World Cup squad – including the sport’s superstar Sonny Bill Williams.
As the Star revealed last week, the Kiwis are in St Helens using Saints’ Cowley training base as they prepare for the tournament, which starts this weekend.
And on Tuesday they headed up to Langtree Park to chat with youngsters from teams such as Blackbrook, Thatto Heath and Haresfinch.
Williams, Issac Luke and former Wigan player Thomas Leuluai were among the big names representing the world champions.
The players would go from table to table to be bombarded with questions from the keen juniors.
After overcoming some difficulty understanding where Thatto Heath was, Sonny Bill – the dual code international and boxer, was happy to chat with youngsters and coaches.
Paul Ellison, from Blackbrook, said: “They asked how hard was it playing as a prop, how can they get better and what type of food should they eat.
“One asked ‘who was the team’s joker’ and Sonny Bill replied Issac Luke.”
Even though the media was kept away on the whole from asking the most probing questions, 21-year-old Gareth Foster from Moss Bank wasn’t going to let the game’s greatest player off the hook.
Gareth, a Saints Community Development Foundation employee who uses a wheelchair, told the Star: “I asked him who was the best all round rugby player he’s played with. He told me he’d have to think about it and come back to me.
“It’s made my year. It’s not often you get to see blokes like that. He’s my sporting hero number one.”
Steve Floyd, coach with the under nines at Haresfinch, said: “The kids are overawed. It’s amazing for them because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. My son watches these guys on the television all the time.”
Haresfinch player Connor Seddon, aged nine, added: “I asked what do you have to do to play in the NRL. These are my heroes and I want to be like them one day.”
Next week will see the Kangaroos in town as Australia play Fiji at Langtree Park.
Tickets are just £10 for adults and £5 for children. Sales have so far been slow so organisers hope the tournament launch will see interest pick up considerably.
See more pictures and rolling RLWC 2013 coverage at sthelensstar.co.uk.
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