A school teacher has been selected as one of 100 rugby superfans and is calling on Mercury readers to ‘Wear the Rose’ ahead of the much-anticipated Rugby World Cup.
Vicky Redshaw, from Oakham, has been selected as one of the 100 members of the Rose Army to promote England Rugby sponsor O2’s campaign Wear the Rose.
The campaign, which was launched to celebrate the start of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Six Nations, will run throughout the World Cup, which kicks-off on September 18.
It is a call to arms to get the entire country behind the national team and is based on England head coach’s Stuart Lancaster’s belief that the power of support will give the team “the extra 10 per cent” they need to be crowned champions.
Vicky said she was surprised to be chosen to be a part of the army.
She entered the competition via Twitter and was selected, following a telephone interview.
She said: “I had the interview and they worked out from that, that I was absolutely bonkers about rugby.
“I have been a supporter of rugby for about 25 years and I encourage a lot of people to support rugby.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d been chosen. I didn’t know what they were looking for and I’m not normally so gregarious but I’m very excited to be a part of it.”
Vicky is a regular face at Welford Road, supporting Leicester Tigers, and has met many players, among them scrum-half Ben Youngs, who will form part of the World Cup squad with fellow Tigers’ Dan Cole and brother Tom.
She has been a long-term supporter of the game and recalls watching “this amazing player called Rory Underwood” as a child. She was also inspired by Tigers legend Dusty Hare, who holds the record for the most points scored in first-class rugby.
Over the next few months, Vicky and her new friends in the Rose Army will be calling on people to back the national team and she has already roped in her parents and husband Ian to film videos, which have been posted online, backing the team. The army has also been asked to film outside the different clubs, which have a representative in the England squad.
And at the weekend, Vicky and Ian were invited to go to Paris, with some of the army, to see England take on France in a warm-up match, prior to the squad for the World Cup being unveiled yesterday.
During the trip, Vicky was given 10 red roses by O2 to hand out to England fans so photos could be posted on social media with #WearTheRose.
Vicky said: “The trip was absolutely amazing even though England, unfortunately, didn’t win.”
But she believes the squad has a “good chance” of lifting the trophy at the end of the tournament.
She added: “I’m really looking forward to the Wear The Rose challenge and I hope people get behind me to give England that extra boost. I want to ensure the team know that the whole country is behind them.”
She is now looking forward to sharing her excitement about the Rugby World Cup with children at the school where she teaches, Brooke Hill Academy in Oakham, when they return next week.
Vicky also needs readers of the Mercury to help her with the Wear the Rose challenges. Find out more by following @VictoriaRedshaw on Twitter.