Excitement for this year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final hit new heights this weekend after another enthralling round of games but Silhillians and Market Harborough RUFC Under-12s are now both more desperate than most for the big day to arrive after securing their places at Twickenham during Sunday’s Northampton Saints’ leg of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
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.
On Sunday, Saints welcomed the top local Under-12 sides to Franklin’s Gardens during the build up to their crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby clash with Harlequins.
Silhillians and Market Harborough Under-12s both came through their pools and semi-finals by playing some fantastic running rugby before meeting in an excellent final.
Silhillians had already booked their place at Twickenham by coming out on top at the Worcester Warriors’ Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup so both sides will now get to enjoy rugby HQ this summer with Market Harborough joining them.
Harry Jones was a key part of the superb Silhillians squad and the 11-year-old, whose side went to Twickenham last year too, said it felt extra special this time around.
“We did well in this tournament last year and it is a big honour to go to Twickenham again. To do it two years in a row kind of proves that it wasn’t a fluke last year,” the Solihull School pupil said.
“It was really fun last year, I had been to watch games there before, but I had never been that close to the pitch and the final was so good.
“We used the ball well, we aren’t the biggest team so we like to spread the ball and it worked well today.
“We tried to get our bigger ball carriers through the middle, draw in defenders and then we can use our pace out wide.
“Henry Slade is my favourite player, but I support Bath Rugby and I think Matt Banahan is brilliant – he is a strong ball carrier and you can rely on him to play anywhere. He can tackle, pass and is flexible.”
Market Harborough Under-12s’ Alex Laurenti added: “Everyone in our team gets along really well and we can’t wait to go to Twickenham now.”
Northampton Saints’ stars Ethan Waller and Josh Peters were envious of the young players’ opportunity to play for a spot at Twickenham at such a young age and were sure that the talent on display figured well for Saints’ future.
Waller started his rugby playing life with Wellingborough and insisted it would be hugely beneficial for the promising young players who grabbed their chance to step out at Twickenham during English club rugby’s biggest show.
“I know anyone is honoured to get a run out on the pitch at Twickenham, so to get the chance to go there at that age is incredible,” the 23-year-old prop said.
“I started playing at Wellingborough Rugby Club, so there were a few festivals like this that we went to.
“Sadly we never got to grace Twickenham, but the opportunity was there and that always inspired us and it is a great thing to have going on at the moment.
“It is great to see the local rugby clubs coming out on a day like this for the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. It is a lovely day for a bit of rugby.”
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. Follow @Land RoverRugby #WeDealInReal