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Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 15.35.48Budding newshounds from Newcastle’s Excelsior Academy grilled a trio of Scottish World Cup rugby stars on the eve of the side’s crunch pool game against Samoa.

The Scotland squad threw open their doors to the ten pupils who quizzed winger Tim Visser, stand-off Duncan Weir and centre Richie Vernon in a mock press conference at the team’s Jesmond Dene House base.

The youngsters recorded the session and took notes to be collated as part of the BBC News School Report, an outreach project which gives secondary school students aged 11-16 around the UK the chance to make their own news reports.

The players answered a half-hour session of questions about their training regime, calorie packed pre-game nutrition and chances of lifting the greatest prize in the sport.

An email to Scottish Rugby’s Head of Media Matt Horler from Excelsior English teacher Natalie Bryce explaining how pupils would love to interview the players for their media project, opened the door to the stars – and secured the team hundreds of new fans at the academy.

Excelsior Academy rugby player and reporter for the day David Stoica Julian said: “We were all a bit nervous but by the end it was like we were speaking friend to friend.

“I’ve been watching the World Cup and I think I’ll be a Scotland fan now.”

Matt said: “It was great for the players to meet the children when we are based here in the local area.

“We thought their questions were excellent. The guys sit through a lot of media briefings and I thought the questions put to the players by the pupils were every bit as good as those.

“We are very conscious that this is a unique opportunity in Newcastle for many Scotland fans to see the national team compete in a World Cup.

“I think there’ll definitely be a tartan flavour again to Newcastle this weekend.”

Scotland take on Samoa at 2.30pm at St James’ Park tomorrow (Saturday October 10) with 100,000 Scottish fans expected to arrive in Newcastle to support their team.

The team featured the Excelsior Academy press conference on their Scottish Rugby TV channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ScottishRugbyonline

Excelsior teacher Natalie said: “We can’t thank the Scotland team enough for the way they responded to our request – allowing us to interview three of their players was such a thrill for the pupils.

“We will use the video material and notes the pupils took of the players’ responses as part of our BBC News School Report.

“It’s fair to say that everyone at Excelsior Academy will now be supporting Scotland in the World Cup and we all hope they qualify for the quarter-finals after this weekend’s game.”

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