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Clifton set for another Twickenham adventure thanks to Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup

Appearing at Twickenham once is special enough, but doing it twice in two years is extraordinary.

Yet that is exactly what Clifton Under-12s achieved as they, along with St Brendans Under-11s, booked their spot at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at the Gloucester Rugby leg of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup on Sunday.

Launched during the 2008-09 season, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is the first national grassroots tournament officiated by Premiership Rugby and run in conjunction with all 12 clubs.

Over 7,000 children take part in the competition, with two teams from each Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup getting the chance to go to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on 28 May.

Gloucester hosted their event at Dean Close Preparatory School in Cheltenham and Clifton Under-12s topped Pool Two before coming through the semi-final with Matson to set up a final against Cleve.

An entertaining showpiece ended one try apiece, but due to Clifton scoring first they advanced to Twickenham for the second year running, having done so at the Gloucester leg of the Under-11s competition 12 months ago.

And after loving his reward last year, 12-year-old front-rower Ben Marsh claims he is already counting down the hours until his return to rugby HQ in May.

“We came top in this competition last year so we went to Twickenham, which was really good,” said the Bristol Grammar School student.

“I can’t wait to see who we’re meeting this time. Last year we met Lewis Moody but it will be exciting to meet someone else this year. I’m really excited to go.

“It has been such a good day and really fun – I’ve lost my voice! There was a lot of hard rugby.

“There were parts when our heads went down and we could have played better, but we deserved to win.
“The key was our teamwork and our passing and just working really well together.”

Following a fantastic Under-11s competition, it was St Brendan's Old Boys who came out on top after facing Cirencester in the final.

That means they too will be off to Twickenham in three month’s time, and 11-year-old Joseph Adams insists hard work was the key to St Brendan's success.

“As a group we have worked really hard and that is what got us to the final,” explained the Elmlea Junior School pupil. “We’re really pleased with our performance.

“Being able to play in a competition like this is amazing. Getting here in the first place and then going all the way to the final and winning it is just absolutely amazing.

“We’ve been to Twickenham before when we got to watch the 7s and the atmosphere was absolutely electric.
“But getting to have a photo on the pitch at the Aviva Premiership Final, I reckon that will be 10 times better.”

Gloucester Rugby stars Henry Purdy and Nicky Thomas were also at Dean Close Preparatory School to support the day – both admitting they were very impressed with the talent on display.

And Purdy believes that going to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is something that Clifton and St Brendan's won’t forget in a hurry.

“It’s a great opportunity to go to Twickenham – it’s a pleasure for anybody of any age to go there,” said Purdy.

“It was a pleasure for me to play at Twickenham the first time, so it’s a great opportunity and I know the boys were all trying really hard.

“I’ve been pretty impressed with the quality on show – there is some real talent – but it’s all about everybody participating and playing rugby at this age.

“You want to enjoy it and if you can develop some social skills as well as rugby ability – which team sports are great for – then it’s brilliant.”

Land Rover is a proud supporter of grassroots rugby and a partner of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for nearly a decade. Land Rover’s ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign aims to champion grassroots rugby on the global stage. Follow @Land RoverRugby #WeDealInReal.
 

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