RUGBY UNION: Youngsters enjoy great experience
Spalding youngsters played a part in creating history at last weekend’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
Since being launched during the 2008-09 season, the nationwide grassroots event has seen more than 70,000 children take part.
This season sees the 10th anniversary edition – the ‘Testimonial Season’ – with Newcastle Falcons hosting the biggest ever festival.
Spalding under-12s were one of more than 70 teams in attendance.
They got the chance to strut their stuff in front of Newcastle Falcons academy player Charlie Wilson who was casting his eyes over the next generation of stars.
And while they missed out on the chance to attend May’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, despite displaying plenty of skill and effort, 12-year-old Alfie Hoyles said they had loved every minute of the experience – winning the first three matches and the final game ending in a draw.
“We’ve all played really well so it’s been a great day,” he said.
“It’s really good to play new teams and there’s been some nice lads from all of them.
“I play centre and try not to let the team down but move the ball out to the wingers.
“I like the team, I’ve made a lot of friends from it.”
Teams will compete at various festivals hosted by the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs this season with the opportunity to earn a trip to the final on May 26 where they will meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a parade at half-time and hear which of them has won a club MVP award.
And despite missing out, Spalding did at least get the chance to meet Wilson.
“It’s really good because you’re playing teams from further afield than what you’d normally do,” said the former England Under-18s centre.
“I played two years of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup and it’s really enjoyable – it was a good experience.
“Twickenham was really exciting. You go on the pitch at half-time so it’s a proper day out at the Premiership final.
“With the Big One knocking about as well it’s a pretty good weekend as a whole.
“I think everyone’s pretty excited, it’s a huge game. It’s great to have everyone here involved.”
Land Rover is celebrating its ‘Testimonial Season’; 10 years of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. The national series of grassroots rugby festivals is testament to Land Rover’s continued support of grassroots rugby through its ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal