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."
The draw for the LV Cup took place earlier and Sale Sharks were drawn in Pool 2 alongside Northampton,London Irish and Cardiff Blues. As in previous seasons the fixtures will be played against teams from another Group, and our fixtures see us playing against Wasps,Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Scarlets from Pool 3.
The fixtures for the A league have been released and Sale Jets will once again play their games at Heywood Road. The exact dates and ties have yet to be finalised and we will advise you the supporters when we can confirm them.