This weekend saw 640 young rugby stars take to the pitches of Bromsgrove RFC on Sunday morning (15th February) to be part of the Worcester festival of a new national grassroots rugby tournament, the Land Rover Premiership Cup.
Hosted by the Worcester Warriors, the 32 clubs battled through the knock-out stages of the under 11 and under 12 games for a place in the final and their chance to win the Land Rover cup.
The Land Rover Premiership Cup is the first national grassroots tournament officiated by Premier Rugby, governing body of the Guinness Premiership, and will run in conjunction with all 12 Premiership clubs across the country. The festivals bring together teams at under 11 and under 12 age groups from the local community to participate in the knock-out competition, with each winning team at both age groups crowned regional champions. The two winners and two runners up from every festival will be invited to Twickenham to represent their region in a "Parade of Champions" at Guinness Premiership Finals Day (16th May) as they are presented to an anticipated 81,000 strong sell-out crowd at the home of English rugby.
In an exciting final the impressive youngsters from Macclesfield fought a close contest to finish the day the under 11 champions. Commenting on the day and his team's win, head coach Peter Jones said: "It's been a great end to a great week for these boys and they have really enjoyed it. We play a lot of tournaments - for the teams to improve they need to be stretched and today has been a classic example of that . They have improved as the day has gone on and to take a trophy home is the icing on the cake. In my opinion there isn't enough money in the sport at grassroots level, so for Land Rover to be organising tournaments like this is fantastic for us - it's a really impressive event."
Watched by Worcester Warriors ,Tom Wood and Matthew Cox, the under 12 winners from Whitchurch RFC claimed an impressive victory over the Bredon youngsters. Delighted to be supporting the day, Wood reinforced the importance of such tournaments at this level of the sport: "Days like this are key for young players; I know they take a lot of organising but without support from the volunteers, parents and sponsors they will never get off the ground. As a young player it's good to have something to look forward to and if big festivals like this provide goals for the clubs and teams then that will only help their development."
"The profile of rugby at this level is pretty low, especially if you compare it to football, so, to have a brand like Land Rover helping to change that is a fantastic thing for the sport." Commented Cox
After a successful day the players received their Land Rover Premiership Cup medals from the players before the winners lifted their trophies.
On the Land Rover Premiership Cup Anthony Bradbury, Marketing Director of Land Rover UK, said: "We are delighted that the Land Rover Premiership Cup festival has been such a success. It is a significant initiative which provides a unique opportunity for young players to channel their enthusiasm for the sport and to play in a national tournament. Land Rover's commitment to rugby now covers all levels of the game, supporting the elite of the England team to young players of the future, and this is something we are extremely proud of. We look forward to the forthcoming festivals across the country and who knows we may find the next generation of rugby stars ! "
For more information on the Land Rover Premiership Cup and for your chance to win a training day with Josh Lewsey and James Haskell, please visit: www.landrover.co.uk/rugby
This weekend (April 28-30), all Aviva Premiership matches including Worcester Warriors' game against Newcastle Falcons will be dedicated to Restart Rugby, the official charity of the Rugby Players' Association.