11yo 'speechless' after being picked for Rugby World Cup role

Nathan Tofilau was given the surprise of his life when rugby legend Sir John Kirwan arrived on his doorstep with some exciting news.

The 11-year-old had entered a competition in March this year, for the chance to carry the match ball onto the field at the New Zealand v Italy Rugby World Cup game in Japan.

He was chosen as the winner out of nearly 800 entries.

"I'm shocked and speechless, but I'm just so excited to run the ball on," Nathan told Newshub.

To keep the exciting news a surprise, Nathan's mum, Natalie Tofilau, told the young rugby player he'd been pulled out of school to go to the dentist.

"Mum said I was going to the dentist, and she made me dress up all nice, and she made me wear my Blues top...I'm very surprised because she lets the secrets out easily."

Nathan, who has been playing rugby for seven years has developed a passion for the game.

"It's just such a good feeling when you give someone the ball and they go off and score, or just playing as a team you just feel so good."

Nathan's prize allowed for one parent to join him in Japan, but his mum says the whole family including his two brothers will make the trip. 

"We thought it was too exciting an experience for Nate to just go with one of us and we wanted the other boys to be part of it with him so we're all going," she told Newshub.

Former All Black and rugby legend Sir John, who delivered the news to the 11-year-old, told Newshub it will be an experience he will never forget.

"Yokohama stadium, there'll be 80,000 people there, he'll be giving the ball to Beauden," Sir John said. 

Nathan is planning to put in some practice for the big moment,

"I just don't want to drop the ball on the field when I run on or anything."


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