NZH

Prince Harry plays gardener in Rugby World Cup opener

ORGANISERS of Rugby World Cup's opening ceremony showed they had a sense of humour by transforming Prince Harry into a peasant gardener.

The stunt wasn't quite as dramatic as the Queen's starring role as a Bond girl at the opening of the London Olympic Games three years ago but Prince Harry still managed to raise the roof with a cameo in a film shown on the big screen at this morning's ceremony watched by 82,000 fans at Twickenham Stadium and screened to a huge global TV audience.

The popular royal appeared alongside former England international Jonny Wilkinson, dressed as a gardener in a clip designed to portray the birth of the sport over a century ago.

The video re-telling of the story of how rugby was invented by schoolboy Willliam Webb Ellis showed a boy picking up a football, sprinting past Prince Harry and Wilkinson who are shown leaning on their spades.

The prince's cameo drew laughter and then applause from the crowd which included his brother William, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who were watching from the stands.
It also echoed the Queen's starring role in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, during which she 'parachuted' into the Queen Elizabeth Stadium with the help of James Bond.

Afterwards, a noticeably nervous Harry made a speech in which he spoke of his hopes that the tournament will 'inspire current players, those new to the game and future generations'.



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