A mum wept tears of joy as her son’s place in England’s rugby union team playing France tomorrow was confirmed.
Joyce Burrell, of Huddersfield, was celebrating the England call for 26-year-old Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell.
He is expected to run out for England in the Stade de France in Paris tomorrow afternoon in the RBS 6 Nations opener.
It is a dream come true for the Paddock-born lad who becomes the first Huddersfield player to represent England at rugby union since Norman Macleod ‘Nim’ Hall.
He made his international debut against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on January 18, 1947.
And it was also an emotional moment for Mrs Burrell and her husband Geoff, who got the news at their Lindley home.
There were also tears of relief as doctors gave Mrs Burrell good news about her suspected cancer, telling her that tests revealed the all-clear.
Joyce, 64, a mother-of-two. said: “I got the first call from Luther at 5.15pm on Tuesday when he rang and said: ‘I’m giving you the heads-up, mum, I may be going to France.’
“He said he would ring me later that evening and at 8pm he called to say: ‘I’m getting my cap, mum.
“My 11-year-old granddaughter, Kaseyleigh, was here at the time and she was just jumping around with joy. She is so proud of him as we all are.”
Luther, who is 6ft 3ins tall and weighs over 17st, has been edging towards his first England cap for some time, impressing with his consistently excellent performances for Northampton.
Prior to that he made 12 appearances in an injury-hit 2011-12 season for Sale.
He was unfortunate not to play a Test but featured in the one midweek match in Montevideo.
Burrell has impressed throughout the season for Northampton, where he has been playing in the number 12 jersey and starts ahead of Brad Barritt who is included on the bench.
In his first media interview the personable 26-year-old told Sky Sport yesterday it had been a long journey to achieving his ultimate goal.
Asked if he had stopped pinching himself he said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, I can’t believe it has finally come true.
“It’s something I have been working towards for a very long time.”
And he explained that the pre-match tension is normally so great that he is invariably sick before he goes out onto the pitch and expected to be doing the same on Saturday.
Luther’s mother Joyce, was diagnosed with suspected cancer in November but medics told her yesterday that she had got the all clear, though she suffers from several other ailments including spinal pain.
Her hospital appointment meant she and her husband Geoff are not sure of seeing their son make his longed-for debut as they left arrangements for getting tickets, flights and accommodation to the very last minute.
Joyce said: “I was very emotional when he went to Rome with the England team recently, that was a big thing, but this has always been his ultimate aim so it will be very emotional seeing him step out on to the turf if we are able to go.”