Dream day for Pilkington Recs juniors at Rugby League World Cup Final

St Helens Star: Recs players stand proudly alongside the Green and Golds Picture by SWpix.com Recs players stand proudly alongside the Green and Golds Picture by SWpix.com

IT was the stuff of dreams for a squad of junior players who took centre stage at the Rugby League World Cup Final on Saturday.

The under eights from Pilkington Recs were chosen to march out of the Old Trafford tunnel with the Australian team for the eagerly-awaited final against New Zealand in front of 74,468 supporters.

They then lined up in front of the rugby league superstars – such as the Green and Golds’ Billy Slater and Greg Inglis – as world-famous tenor Russell Watson performed the competing nations’ national anthems.

Jackie Cunningham, of Newton-le-Willows, whose great-nephew Joshua Burton plays for the Ruskin Drive-based team, helped organise the once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Coach Chris Bailey, whose eight-year-old son Jack marched out with Slater, said: “The Aussie players were just brilliant with the lads.

“Billy Slater was asking my son did he play rugby, Johnathan Thurston gave one of the lads his skull cap to carry and they kept asking all the players were they okay.

“It was fantastic day. The parents were there watching and were very proud.

“I keep watching it back on DVD – I don’t think I’ve got round to the game yet.”

The Aussies won the final 34-2, meaning the youngsters can boast they were part of the world champions’ triumph.

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