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London Wasps fans to become stars of the small screen

Two neighbours from Southampton are about to join the players from London Wasps on the small screen after being selected to star in a new series of TV adverts.

Kevin Longman and Richard Goulding, who live next door to each other in Reed Drive, Marchwood, wowed producers working for Premiership Rugby sponsors Aviva after they launched a nationwide search for the country's most passionate rugby fans.
The pair, devoted London Wasps supporters, impressed a camera crew at Adams Park during the 22-12 victory over Leicester Tigers on October 27.

And after sifting through hours of footage, Kevin and Richard got the call to represent their club in the adverts, which will wrap around the Aviva Premiership Rugby highlights show on ITV from December 22.

"I've never done anything like this before and I've thoroughly enjoyed it - and they were a great crew as well," said Richard, 59, a safety tester for BT Openreach.

"I've been a Wasps fan for a long time and it's good to represent you club and have that identity - I knew that if I hung around long enough something good would happen."

Aviva scoured the country looking to find the true heroes of the sport, with fans from all 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs set to appear in the adverts.

Last month a camera crew descended on the pair's Southampton homes to film Richard and Kevin on their own doorstep and capture the essence of their friendship - and their love of all things Wasps.

"It's been interesting and a lot of fun," said Kevin, 58.

"It's a really good feeling, especially as I've only been a season ticket holder for a few years unlike Richard, who has been following Wasps for more than 20 years.

"Wasps doesn't dominate our friendship but it has brought us closer together, although we've always been friends."

The pair had their photos taken by a professional photographer as well as spending time in make-up to ensure they looked their best on screen, before being interviewed on camera about why Wasps matters so much to them.

Despite the extra attention the adverts are sure to bring, Richard isn't worried about being stopped in the supermarket by rugby fans in the future.

"I'm lucky in that most of my family aren't rugby fans so they don't really know what we're up to, although some of my mates at work find it quite interesting," he added.

"I think I've converted a few people to watching rugby in the future as well, which is great."

"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.

"I think it's absolutely testament to how wonderfully supportive the fans are, and the fans are ultimately at the heart of everything we're doing with rugby making it the great game that it is."