WARRINGTON 11-year-old Luke Kelly played at the venue of the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup Final in Japan over Easter.

He joined school pals in representing England in the Kids Rugby World Festival, helping his country to win four of the five live televised matches played at the International Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday and Sunday.

Warrington Guardian:

Luke, in yellow boots, getting stuck in for England

Former Warrington Rugby Union Club junior Luke, a footballer with Grappenhall Gladiators, and 13 fellow students from St Ambrose College, Altrincham, spent six days in Japan bookended by 50 hours of travelling between Manchester and Tokyo Narita airports via Abu Dhabi.

As well as the tournament at the 72,000-seat home of professional football team Yokohama F. Marinos, the Grappenhall youngster joined rugby starlets from across the globe in cultural exchange visits, sightseeing, training sessions, event dinners as well as opening and closing ceremonies as Japan stepped up its promotion of staging the Rugby Union World Cup in September.

It was the trip of a lifetime for the former St Wilfrid's Primary School pupil.

"He couldn't sleep, he was shaking because he was so excited before he left," said his mum Kelly Melville-Kelly.

"For a local lad to be going to Japan to play rugby at 11 is huge.

"We've travelled abroad as family but he's never been involved in anything like this.

"It was a chance to meet other people and other cultures, but enjoy playing sport and get the whole experience from it as well."

The opportunity came about for Luke on the back of his school team being ranked number one in the country at the time of selection.

"It's just a really good experience for someone that young to have done this," said his mum.

"The fact that he's represented his country is just an honour."