HE’S the junior rugby league player who became a hit on social media – after he took an unlikely starring role in Friday night’s Saints versus Huddersfield match.

But it wasn’t just the supporters who were smiling after watching the pre-match exploits of Pilkington Recs under 7s player Riley Gauchwin...the Saints squad had a good laugh too.

Riley and his team-mates were holding a giant Saints flag on the pitch ahead of kick off.

But as the junior players ran from the pitch – pulling the flag with them - Riley, who was at the back of the pack, slipped.

But the plucky youngster wasn’t going to lose his grip – and proudly stuck to his task of keeping hold of the flag.

And as he clung on, he was dragged 50 metres along the pitch as the crowds in the West Stand laughed and cheered.

St Helens Star:

Riley with Saints’ James Roby

Mum Leanne Gauchwin, 33, from South Windle, had been filming the team.

But she ended up recording her son’s ‘slide’. She shared the footage on Facebook, which had a huge response after being viewed by thousands of people around the world.

The student nurse, who is team manager for the under 7s, said: “He’s been loving all the reaction – thousands of people have watched it on social media and everyone seems to know about it.

“He’d just high-fived James Roby on the pitch and as the others ran with the flag Riley had not realised and slipped.

“I said to him ‘why didn’t you let go’ – and he said ‘because they told me to keep tight hold’.

”When we found him after the game, all he was bothered about was that he’d met James.”

The video went viral on Facebook and by chance Riley and his family bumped into Saints skipper Roby at Ruskin Drive sportsground the next day.

St Helens Star:

Leanne, who has two other children, Ellis (9) and Lillie (13), with husband Paul, added: “James Roby said to Riley: ‘Was that you who who got dragged along by the flag?

“‘All the Saints lads had a right laugh over that’.”