A young fan from Ilfracombe Academy got the experience of a lifetime when his school’s new Canterbury rugby shirt was unveiled in front of thousands at Twickenham.

Just minutes before England kicked off against Wales, North Devon's Josh Addie proudly entered the famous Twickenham pitch wearing his school's new playing kit for the national anthems.

The opportunity for the 13-year-old came as part of the All Schools programme, launched in 2012 by the Rugby Football Union, which aims to get more state secondary schools playing rugby and encourage students to join local clubs.

This season marks the eighth year of kit design workshops, with this series celebrating the RFU hitting its milestone of introducing rugby to the 750th state secondary school.

Josh was one of 75 students from across England who were picked to unveil their new shirts in front of thousands of rugby supporters on behalf of their respective schools.

And the 13-year-old admitted the whole day - which also saw him meet All Schools Ambassadors and England internationals Lewis Ludlam and Catherine O'Donnell, line up on the pitch for the anthems and then sit in the crowd afterwards for the action - would live long in the memory.

He said: 'It feels really good to have been here today, because it's such a good opportunity for me and it's really brilliant in general.

'I was really looking forward to going to Twickenham and seeing how the match played out, and it was great.

'My kit might be mostly white, but there's still some really cool colours on it and the logo looks really good too. It's all laid out and composed really well.

'It feels really good to represent my school with this kit and I'm so excited that I got to represent the school at Twickenham.

'My favourite thing about rugby is the sportsmanship of it, and the fact that it builds great teamwork - everyone is really respectful in the game.'

Each shirt was individually designed by students at kit design workshops last year, where pupils worked with Canterbury employees to learn about the core values of rugby, the pride associated with the shirt and the importance of colours, logos and emblems.

Recent research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University shows that participation in rugby has increased in All Schools since the inception of the programme in 2012, with over 10,500 students having gone on to join local rugby clubs.

Ludlam was also on hand at the kit unveil to share his experience of what it means to represent England, the importance of the shirt and to take centre stage at Twickenham on match day.

The 24-year-old back-rower said: 'It's an unbelievable opportunity to be able to walk out on to the Twickenham pitch on matchday. For the youngsters to get a taste of what it's like when 82,000 people are screaming down at you is very special.

'Programmes like All Schools are amazing for the game. I went to a school where there wasn't much rugby and for these guys to get this sort of opportunity at their age is brilliant.

'Without these types of grassroots programmes and the work people do that goes into building the game, rugby at any level wouldn't be possible. Seeing kids that might not have had that chance before now be able to learn the values of rugby is amazing.

'From a professional's perspective, it's great to see the game continue to grow. It's brilliant to be involved because I'm passionate about helping as many people get introduced to the sport as possible.'

The All Schools programme, supported by Canterbury, is one of the RFU's key legacy programmes set up to increase the number of state secondary schools playing rugby union in England. Visit www.englandrugby.com/allschools to find out more. This programme hit its 750 milestone in September 2019.