Spalding Rugby Club U12s will be part of May’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham after booking their spot at the Leicester Tigers organised Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup at the weekend.
Oakham Rugby Club was hosting this year’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, a nationwide series for U11 and U12 teams, with Spalding the lucky team to walk away with a trip to HQ at the end of the season.
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 each season, with two teams from each Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup getting the chance to go to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on 27 May 2017.
Spalding Rugby Club U12s will be heading to Twickenham, where they will meet an England 2003 Rugby World Cup winner, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade at half-time and hear which member of the team has won the Land Rover MVP award.
Spalding played with maturity beyond their years and made it through their group with a combination of brave tackling, crisp passes and slick off-loads.
The tournament was organised by Leicester Tigers and saw Spalding play in a pool alongside Lutterworth, Hinckley and Holt, before progressing to a secondary phase where they locked horns with Lichfield, Southwold and West Bridgford – in total more than 30 teams took part in the festival.
“It feels amazing, I’m just so happy that we did it,” said Spalding U12s’ Freddie Fitzpatrick.
“We played awesome as a team I think and I couldn’t be prouder of the lads to be honest.
“They gave everything they had to that last game and it’s just amazing. I have always wanted to play at Twickenham so to go there will be amazing, the atmosphere will be awesome.”
Joining Spalding at Twickenham will be Lichfield Rugby Club U11s after they also earned the opportunity visit the home of English rugby with the youngsters set to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience alongside fellow rugby players to have taken part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
Lichfield were paired in a pool with North Walsham, South Leicester and Syston, before entering a second phase where they played Derby, West Bridgford and Ashby.
“We’re all so excited that we get to go to Twickenham,” said Lichfield U11s’ Josh Butler.
“I’ve been to see the Premiership final there before but seeing all the players and walking out on the pitch will feel amazing and like we’re professional players ourselves, I can’t wait.
“I just love playing rugby and we played well. We did well to keep our defensive line and go for the corners like we’ve been doing in training.”
Leicester Tigers’ Academy star Harry Wells was also at Oakham Rugby Club to support and sign autographs, and admitted he would not be surprised if some of the youngsters on display joined them in the professional ranks.
“It’s awesome to see just how many kids have turned up and how many teams are taking part,” said Wells.
“The numbers that have come out on a Sunday morning to play rugby – it’s really positive and good to see.
“It’s good for them to play a lot of games in one day in this format. It helps them improve not only as players but as a team and they can get used to working together. It’s a fun day to be involved in.
“I remember playing in tournaments like this as a kid, it was great.
“We weren’t awfully successful in youth tournaments but I do remember one year we managed to win one and it really was awesome, it was an amazing feeling.”
Land Rover is a proud supporter of grassroots rugby and has been a partner of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for nearly a decade. Land Rover’s ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign continues to champion grassroots rugby through Premiership Rugby and the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal.