A YOUNG Thornbury Broncos player met his heroes last week when he went to watch England train ahead of their first autumn international against Fiji.

Under-12 player Cameron Jackson was nominated by the club to take part in a new initiative which celebrates the link between members of England’s elite player squad and their formative grassroots clubs, with prop Mako Vunipola having played for the Broncos as a youngster.

After watching national boss Stuart Lancaster conduct a training session at Pennyhill Park, Jackson met all the players and it will get even better for him when England face South Africa at Twickenham on November 24.

If Vunipola is picked in the 23-man squad for that game, he will walk onto the Twickenham pitch accompanied by Jackson, but even if the Saracens prop does not make the starting squad, the mascot will be invited to the game as a special guest for the day.

Jackson said it was a great experience watching the England players up close.

He said: “I was hugely excited. It was nice to know they all got on really well and when they were training properly it was very fast, but friendly.”

Asked what his highlight was, Jackson added: “Shaking hands with Mako and meeting him for the first time.”

Thornbury Broncos chairman Dave Bird was delighted that Vunipola’s roots with the club were recognised by England.

He added: “Mako is the first player to come up through the junior ranks and win a full international cap for England and all members should feel rightly proud of his achievement.”