The Millfield School boarding student raced onto the pitch to celebrate but
was knocked to the ground by a security guard
7:33PM GMT 01 Nov 2015
When schoolboy Charlie Line ran onto the pitch during New Zealand’s lap of honour, he was not expecting much more than a telling off.
But the Millfield School boarding student could never have imagined that he would leave with an All Black star’s Rugby World Cup medal hanging around his neck.
Photo: Rogan Thomson/JMP/REX Shutterstock
Year 9 pupil Charlie Line raced onto the pitch to celebrate with his Kiwi heroes as they waved to fans, celebrating their win against Australia on Saturday.
But just as he reached centre player Sonny Bill Williams, 30, he was knocked to the ground by a member of security.
Williams, a former heavyweight boxing champion, picked the teenager up off the floor, gave him a hug and put his medal around the young boy’s neck.
Charlie, a student at the prestigious independent Somerset school, was watching the match with his family, including his brother Will Line and cousin Harry Glenn, who posed for pictures wearing the medal and posted them to their social media accounts shortly afterwards.
Explaining why he made the decision to give away his award, Williams said: “He got smoked by the security guard, like full-on tackled. It was pretty sad.
“He’s just a young fella obviously caught up in the moment. If that was a younger brother or cousin, I would have given the security guard a hiding.
Photo: Rogan Thomson/JMP/REX Shutterstock
“But I just picked the kid up and took him back to his old lady and tried to make the night more memorable for him. The way he got round the security guard he could be a future All Black in the making.
“The coaches started joking with me afterwards that it was solid gold.
“I know he’ll appreciate it and when he gets older he’ll be telling his kids – that’s more special than it just hanging on a wall.
“Better for it to be hanging around his neck than mine. I’m sure he’ll remember it for a while.”
Williams walked Charlie back to his family who were cheering and laughing in the stands.
He later posted a picture of the boy on his Instagram account:
A photo posted by Sonny Bill Williams (@sonnybillwilliams13) on Oct 31, 2015 at 1:21pm PDT
While the parents of Charlie and Will Line are both British, and were educated at Rugby school, the two boys are understood to have been born in Singapore, and to have lived in various locations around the world. Their mother, Amanda, is a partner at PWC, the accounting firm, based in Dubai. Contacted by the Telegraph on Sunday night, she said the family did not wish to comment.
Later Williams was presented with another World Cup winners’ medal at the World Rugby Awards dinner in Battersea.
He accepted it on the stage and told how Charlie had tried to contact him to return the medal, but said he’d told him it was for keeps.
Williams also joked that another All Black, Liam Messam, had given Charlie his All Blacks beanie hat.
Tournament owners World Rugby and tournament organisers England Rugby 2015 have hailed the success of the Rugby World Cup, which saw records broken on and off the pitch.
This included tickets sales of over 2.47 million and an official fanzone attendance of over one million.
“The bonds that we have as brothers in the changing room – the medal represents that,” Williams said. “But it is more about going back in there and seeing the smiles on the boys’ faces and knowing that we have accomplished something that no other All Black team has ever done is pretty special.”
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby World Cup 2015 will be remembered as the biggest tournament to date, but I also believe that it will be remembered as the best. England 2015 has been the most competitive, best-attended, most-watched, most socially-engaged, most commercially-successful Rugby World Cup.
“But this special Rugby World Cup has been about much more than numbers, it has been about the amazing atmosphere in full and vibrant stadia, the excitement around the host nation and in Cardiff, the unforgettable moments played out by the world’s best players and the friendships that have been created along the way – the very best of our sport has been on display.”