A FIVE-year-old has been surprised by his rugby heroes, Ken Owens and Sam Warburton.

Rocco Jax Lock, is famed within his community for mimicking famous Welsh rugby players and showing off his impressions to his friends and family.

He was stunned when ex-Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton showed up on his doorstep.

Rocco then took part in the world's first 5G shirt signing, thanks to Vodafone.

The phone company is connecting rugby fans in the UK with Lions players 8,000 miles away in South Africa, for a live autograph signing.

With supporters unable to travel, Vodafone – Lead Partner for the British & Irish Lions – found an innovative way to connect fans to the players competing overseas and give back a missed moment of much-needed connection for both.


Designed to bring fans closer to the tour, the ‘8,000 Mile Auto5Graph’ is a unique fan experience, developed by Vodafone as part of their partnership with the British & Irish Lions to treat super fans unable to fly out and support the team in South Africa.

For Rocco it was Ken Owens who wrote a personal message and signature directly onto their jersey, live in front of his eyes.

Rocco lives with his mum and dad in Mountain Ash, and is regularly spotted supporting his dad at the local rugby club, eagerly awaiting his sixth birthday when he can get onto the pitch and follow in his Lions heroes’ footsteps.

Jonny Lock, Rocco’s father, who was with him for the live signing with Ken Owens, was amazed: “Rocco couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the robot moving in front of him, and the signature appearing on the shirt – we were all taken aback.

"He’s loved rugby ever since he could walk, so having this experience with one of his Welsh heroes is more than he could ever have dreamed of.”

How the ‘8,000 Mile Auto5Graph’ Works Using a precision robot, motion control technology and Vodafone’s low latency 5G network, the Lions players signed jerseys live for fans in the UK, from over 8,000 miles away.

As the player made contact on a tablet with a stylus in South Africa, a robot arm stationed in London mirrored the player’s hand movements, allowing them to write directly onto the fan’s jersey in real-time, while chatting on a video call.