Exeter Chiefs 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 Redruth under-12s and Penryn under-11s victorious, 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.
Josh Pengilly from Redruth RFC was excited to be there on the day and thanked Exeter Chiefs for giving him a special day at Rugby HQ to look forward too.
“It was good here, we played really well and we won,” said the 11-year-old a Redruth School pupil.
“It feels great that we’ll get to go to Twickenham, it’ll be so good.
“My team played well, we had good lines and strength in attack – we were able to score tries of that.
“It’s the start of a great season for Redruth.”
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 Redruth at Twickenham will be Penryn RFC, who are now counting down the days until the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final.
“It feels really good that we’ll get to go to Twickenham, it will be so exciting to step out on the pitch there,” said ten-year-old Penryn player Thomas Sparks, a pupil at Truro Prep School.
“It’s been really fun, my teammates were really good and showed great sportsmanship.”
“I like tournaments because it’s good to play new teams and see how they play,” added ten-year-old teammate Isaac Smith.
“I enjoy rugby, it’s fun and you get to make new friends – I’ve made loads at Penryn.
“Penryn is good because no one judges you on how you play, this tournament isn’t about winning so you just get to have a day out and enjoy it with your friends.”
Participating players at the festival also had the opportunity to meet Chiefs academy star Charlie Wright, who took time out of his schedule to watch the young teams as he played in the tournament himself as a junior.
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And he commented on the importance of grassroots rugby, saying: “I played in the tournament for Sidmouth and I remember playing the final against Topsham.
“It’s a really good experience for all the young players, they look a lot smaller than what I remember playing against.
“This is the tenth year and it’s really important to start at a young age, it’s just fun for the boys and girls.
“You have to have enjoyment and not get too serious, it’s really important for them to get involved now and progress through the age groups.”
For more information on the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup please visit: www.premiershiprugby.com/landrovercup