Leicester Tigers hosted an exciting under-11 and under-12 grassroots developmental festival this weekend as the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup celebrates ten successful seasons.
This successful series of nationwide events, now in its tenth season, has seen more than 70,000 children take part to date and continues to grow, providing developmental experience for young players to excel in a professionally run environment.
The under 12 competition was a fantastic spectacle for those in attendance with the highly competitive fixtures providing a meaningful platform for youngsters to develop their rugby skills.
It was a competition to watch with Kesteven under-12s and Bury St Edmunds under-11s showing great spirit right up until the final whistle to earn a trip to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on May 26, where they will meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade at half-time and hear which of them has won a club MVP award.
Jack Hall from Kesteven was excited to be there on the day and thanked Leicester Tigers for giving him a special outing at Rugby HQ to look forward too.
“It was a good tournament, the referees were good and the matches were not too long but not too short,” said the 12-year-old Kings Grammar School pupil.
“At tournaments you learn how good other teams are, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are.
“You also learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. I enjoy playing rugby because I enjoy meeting people and playing new teams.
“It’s good that some Leicester players came down because you got to learn tips from them as well.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) November 12, 2017
In the under 11 festival all teams displayed fantastic resolve and demonstrated the core values of the game throughout: – teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
And joining Kesteven at Twickenham will be Bury St Edmunds rugby club, who are now counting down the days until the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final.
“I feel so happy, it will be quite nerve-wracking to be in front of so many fans but also exciting,” said ten-year-old Tom Ridding.
“The tournament was really good because we got to play teams that we hadn’t ever played before.
“Now we’re ready and we can play even harder teams that we’ve played.”
Participating players at the festival also had the opportunity to meet Tigers stars Manu Tuilagi and Matt Smith, who took time out of their schedules to watch the young teams.
And Tuilagi commented on the importance of grassroots rugby, saying: “It’s very important to get the kids involved in tournaments like this, the younger the better.
“It’s good for them to learn the skills and develop their game as young as possible.
“I remember playing in similar tournaments and you learn a lot at that young age.
“It’s the most important time to develop their game.”
For more information on the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup please visit: www.premiershiprugby.com/landrovercup