Newcastle Falcons back row Callum Chick has hailed the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for making his dreams come true.
Chick was competing in the final of the Under-12s tournament for Ponteland RFC six years ago when his potential was spotted by a Newcastle scout watching the game. Just a few weeks later the young Falcons fan was invited to train with the club and since then his career has gone from strength to strength.
After signing a professional contract with the Newcastle Falcons Senior Academy in January and captaining England Under-18s for the first time against France it has been a whirlwind 2015 for the No 8.
But Chick is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and knows that it all could have been so different if his team hadn’t participated in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
“It was always the most exciting tournament of the year for us – the one we looked forward to,” the 18-year-old reflected.
“I played in both the Under-11 and Under-12 tournaments, we got to the semi-finals in the first one and made the final in the second.
“I was playing in that final on the Kingston Park pitch in front of a full Newcastle Falcons crowd when I got spotted, which was absolutely amazing.
“But one of my best childhood memories was when my team travelled down to Twickenham for the Parade of Champions with the other Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup winners.
“Walking around the Twickenham pitch at the age of 12 was just an unbelievable experience.”
Chick took a nostalgic trip down memory lane when he went along to this year’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup at Kingston Park to watch his old side Ponteland take on some of the most talented young players in the local area.
While Ponteland narrowly missed out on a spot in the semi-finals, they were presented with the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Spirit of Rugby award in recognition of their exemplary behaviour both on and off the pitch.
Chick was proud to see his old club setting an example and was eager to stress that there is far more to the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup than producing the winning teams.
“This tournament is so beneficial to youngsters because as a result of it being backed by Land Rover and Premiership Rugby it gets so many more different teams participating in it,” Chick added.
“Taking part in two Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cups got me used to playing against different types of players so that I could really start to develop and improve my own skills.
“It took me back watching Ponteland at the Newcastle Falcons Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup because I played on the same pitches when I was that age and when I did, I didn’t expect to be playing for Newcastle Falcons now. So it just shows that they can do the same thing.
“You can see that players who take part in this tournament are enjoying themselves and that’s what it’s about at this age – just enjoying playing rugby.”
Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for over 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup each season. Keep up-to-date with the latest Land Rover rugby activity by following @premrugby and @LandRoverRugby.