Harlequins hosted the latest round of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup festival on Sunday, where Guildford under-11s and Chobham under-12s booked their place at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 30 May.
In total, more than 7,000 children will participate over the course of the season with 24 teams being chosen to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade of Champions during half-time in front out of a sold out Twickenham crowd.
Quins stars George Robson and Netani Talei watched plenty of potential rugby stars who took to the field in the under-11s and under-12s festivals.
Chobham went unbeaten through the group stages, before edging out Farnham to seal their place at Twickenham.
Both teams were so strong defensively that they were locked at 0-0 with Chobham crowned champions on a countback, having not conceded a try all day.
“It feels great, especially as my cousin was playing for the opposition,” said 12-year-old skipper Charlie Parker.
“I am so excited to go to Twickenham and so are the whole team – it will be amazing. I have been there to watch England play but it will special to be on the pitch.
“The final went to golden try but it went on for ages so eventually we had to stop as everyone was getting tired. It came down to our defence – every tackle mattered.
“I love Northampton Saints and George North so hopefully I will see them there.
“I have had a great day. It has been great to play teams from all over the area that we have not played before.”
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 Lewis Fuller whose Kettering RFC side played with grit and determination, showing exemplary fair play throughout.
On the pitch the side were polite and respectful to the referees, while off it the coaches ensured they would make substitutions to involve everyone and make sure no games were one-sided.
On receiving the award, Fuller said: “I really enjoyed the day because I got stuck in. Our team played really well and scored some good tries – the main thing is that we worked as a team.”
“The highlight of the day was a huge rolling maul from our half to the other team’s half. Rugby is my only sport. I play every week and I have made some great friends here.
“It was brilliant to receive some pads and kit for our club with the award. It will really help us in training.
“I am a Harlequins fan and Joe Marler is my hero. I would love to be like him in the future and play for England. My ultimate goal is to win the World Cup with England from prop.”
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.
It was also a great day for Guildford as their under-11s scored 35-0 against Farnham to progress to the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade of Champions at Twickenham.
Quins first-teamers Robson and Talei enjoyed their day watching the next generation, and second-row Robson believes attending the tournament has reinforced his love of the game.
“The event has been fantastic, it’s great to have the chance to come down and see some grassroots rugby. It is always good to remind yourself why you play the game and why you started,” said Robson.
“These kids are all working really hard for each other and then at the end of the game you shake hands, everyone is friends and you move on.
“What has impressed me is the decision-making and the passing of the ball, moving it around, as well as the contact skills.
“I have been down here a couple of times for the tag tournaments and this is a completely different level, the guys are only young but they are going hell-for-leather, so it’s fantastic to see.
“To be involved in any festival when you’re younger acts as a real source of motivation to play and as you can see, the guys are taking it seriously.
“It’s great to see the kids enjoying themselves – that’s the most important thing, playing with their mates. That is why everyone starts playing the game so it’s great to see it is still going on now.”
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.