Newcastle Falcons hosted over 60 rugby teams in their Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup festival on Sunday and it was an impressive day for Northern Rugby Club after their Under-11 and Under-12 sides booked a place at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final in May.
In total, more than 7,000 children will participate over the course of the season as they go in search of a spot in
the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade of Champions during half-time of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final.
There were plenty of potential stars on show at Kingston Park, as Under-11 and Under-12 teams played inside
the stadium and on its surrounding training pitches, before the youngsters were treated to a show of their own as they watched Newcastle’s nail-biting Aviva Premiership Rugby encounter against Leicester Tigers.
Northern’s Under-11s edged knockout games against Middlesbrough and Durham before triumphing over Tynedale in a thrilling final to seal their place at Twickenham.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Twickenham so for me it’s a dream come true really,” said 11-year-old Dame Allen’s School student James Taylor.
“We played in this tournament last year but I think my team’s improved a lot since then so we were really looking forward to coming here and showing everyone what we can do.”
And the Northern Under-12s side equalled their younger clubmates’ feat by emerging as the overall winners of their tournament.
“We won the under-11 final last year but this was a completely different experience,” explained skipper Harvey Guthri.
“It was really challenging this year and after we were beaten in our second game we had to lift each other and regain some confidence as a team.
“We managed to do that but we were still pretty nervous before the final.
“Luckily we still played well and to do the double after last year’s tournament feels amazing.”
Meanwhile, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Spirit of Rugby Award, which goes to a player who demonstrated the values of rugby, was given to Harvey Robson whose Ponteland RFC side played to the best of their ability, showing exemplary fair play throughout.
Ponteland were polite and respectful to the referees and after leaving the cup at the quarter final stage the team reacted magnanimously, praising their opponents for a job well done.
Upon receiving the award, Gosforth School student Robson said: “I’m really pleased to win this but it wasn’t just me – my team tried really hard today and we were determined to play our best.
“Our team spirit was amazing and that’s important because you can’t just be a one man show in rugby.
“At Ponteland we love each other like a family and no matter what happens we’ll always be a team.”
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 Premiership Rugby clubs.
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.