TO say Emma Pearson is a big fan of Sale Sharks star Henry Thomas could be considered something of an understatement.
So when the prop forward surprised Emma and dad Carl as they filmed a new series of TV adverts for Premiership Rugby sponsor Aviva, it was the perfect early Christmas present.
The pair blew away producers working for Aviva after they launched a nationwide search for the country's most passionate rugby supporters.
The pair shone on camera after they were interviewed at the AJ Bell Stadium at the Sale Sharks versus Exeter Chiefs game last month, where their love for the club rung out - though the duo did not react to the news they would be making their TV debuts in the same way.
"It's a total honour and I hope we have done the rest of the supporters proud," said Carl, 60, a project manager from Clitheroe. "It is a proud moment - it really is.
"When Emma told me what was going to happen I was absolutely horrified but, having said that, you've always got your few minutes of fame in life."
TV cameras joined the Pearsons at the AJ Bell Stadium to capture them on film, with the interview one of 12 set to be featured during the ITV Aviva Premiership Rugby highlights show this season.
Emma, 24, was delighted to be representing the club with her dad and the opportunity to bump into England prop Henry Thomas stood out as the day's highlight.
"He is a little superstar - he makes me laugh," she said. "He is just so down to earth. Out of all the lads, you can talk to all of them but Henry just comes up and chats to you.
"In the last match of last season they were all just hanging around, getting pictures, and I just said 'Henry, can I have your shirt?'
"He just said 'yeah' and threw it off his back, full of sweat, mud and blood. It smelt rather rank after three days. You couldn't move it - it had just gone stiff."
Carl has been watching Sale since 1972 and a trip to Twickenham four years ago sparked a shared interest between father and daughter - now they couldn't imagine a better way to bond.
"You are part of the team, that's it," added Emma. "It is just the camaraderie of it.
"You never know what happens in life. You have got to make the most of what you've got and I'm trying to."
"What we're trying to do is really get to the heart of what matters to rugby fans from the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs," said Louisa Cheetham, Senior Sponsorship Manager at Aviva.
"I think what's been absolutely fantastic is we've seen the passion of all the fans, from an 82-year-old Leicester Tigers supporter to a pair of eight-year-olds who love Exeter Chiefs.
"And it's absolutely testament to how wonderfully supportive the fans are. They are ultimately at the heart of everything we're doing with rugby making it the great game that it is."
Despite trailing by three points at the interval, Sale Sharks European Cup campaign ended at Thomond Park to a Munster side who were desperate to finish on a winning note after failing to qualify for the Quarter Finals.
Sale Sharks' European campaign this season has been a case of what might have been but back-row forward Mark Easter insists he and his teammates can hold their heads high even if it ends without a win.
Danny Cipriani has been called up to the England EPS Squad ahead of this season's Six Nations, and Ross Harrison has been called up for the England Saxons squad for their match against Irish Wolfhounds on Friday 30th January.
Steve Diamond has admitted that the experience of this season's European Rugby Champions Cup has made him and his squad even more determined to finish in the Top Six of the Aviva Premiership and so book their passage into next season's European showpiece.
Sharks were left empty handed after a tremendous effort against Clermont Auvergne in appalling conditions at the AJ Bell Stadium. So close but yet so far in the home games in the competition with Steve Diamond's men running Munster,Saracens and Clermont right to the bell on each game.