BIRMINGHAM’s rising rugby stars laced their boots with the best sides in the Midlands to lock horns over the coveted Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup trophy this weekend.
Wasps hosted the junior festival after previous instalments from Saracens, Sale, Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons, with first-team stalwarts watching on as Birmingham sides Silhillians and Camp Hill joined 30 fellow Under-11 and Under-12 clubs on the pitches of Old Leamingtonians RFC.
Since 2008, over 100,000 children have participated in Land Rover’s series of nationwide events, with alumni such as Harlequins’ Louis Lynagh and Newcastle’s Callum Chick using its platform to realise their dreams of playing in the Gallagher Premiership and beyond.
Sebastian Hellings of Silhillians under-11’s said: “The tournament’s really good because the competitions quite tough and you learn how to improve against harder teams, but the most important thing is getting to play a lot of rugby with your friends.”
There was also the prize of attending this year’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham Stadium on June 18 at stake, with the winning team from each age group decided by nominations based on their sportsmanship and dedication to rugby’s core values.
Sebastian, aged 11, added: “There are some great teams here but it would mean a lot if we go to Twickenham, especially since we’re all such good friends.”
Wasps 2018 Player of the Season Tom Cruse said: “Facing lots of teams with their own styles all in the same day is a great chance to test every part of your game.
“The competition is strong, and playing sides you haven’t come up against is such a big part of your development.”
Wasps lock James Gaskell added: “This environment is such a breath of fresh air.
“Between the players, the coaches, the barbeques and the families, it’s the fun side of tournament rugby.”
Land Rover has been supporting grassroots rugby in the UK for nearly two decades, through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. Follow the latest Land Rover rugby activity on Twitter @LandRoverRugby #DiscoverRugby