Sam basks in Bledisloe drama
GRAFTON'S Sam Carroll might be battling a rare form of cancer, but tonight he is going to be part of the drama as the Wallabies attempt to wrest the Bledisloe Cup from the mighty All Blacks.
In front of a crowd predicted to top 80,000 people, 10-year-old Sam - designated a Junior Wallaby for the occasion - will carry the match ball to the centre of the ground for the kick-off.
Proud dad Adam Carroll said his son was not overawed in any way at the prospect of performing in front of such a massive crowd on such a huge occasion.
"He's not nervous at all. He doesn't mind a bit of attention," Adam said.
Because of his illness, Sam has not been able to play rugby this season, but that will not stop him from donning his Grafton Redmen jersey for his trip to the middle of the ANZ Stadium.
Sam's chance came soon after he was diagnosed with the cancer in the middle of the year.
"Friends of ours, Mick and Melissa McGrath, are parents of one of Sam's school friends, Fletcher McGrath," Adam said.
"They contacted the ARU about Sam's condition and it just developed from there."
Adam said his boy had been missing playing rugby this season, but tonight's experience would go a fair way to making up for it.
"It's an amazing opportunity and we're all pretty much blown away by it all," Adam said.
"Sam's been told he can't wear his rugby boots on the field, but he's taken them anyway, just in case.
"I don't know if he just wants to wear them on the field, or he hopes he gets an emergency call up."
Adam said Sam was confident the Wallabies could follow through for him with a win in the series opener. "He's a big Wallabies fan, but his favourite player is Issie (Israel Folau)," Adam said.
"He's also really keen to see the haka close up."
Adam said Sam will get to keep the match ball, signed by the two captains, Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and All Black legend Richie McCaw.
Sam's family, the McGraths and a contingent of friends will be at the ground cheering him on.