Youngster from Sleaford Rugby Club compete at Land Rover Premiership Cup

By Bella Butler

The young Sleaford players.
The young Sleaford players.

With normality returning to the UK after a tough few years for sport, Sleaford Rugby Club youngsters were among the rugby talent able to play in one of the biggest junior festivals in the country.

The Land Rover Premiership Cup touched down at Leicester Tigers as Oakham Rugby Club hosted an exciting under 11 and under 12 grassroots developmental festival.

This successful series of nationwide events, now running for nearly two decades has seen more than 100,000 children take part to date, with some realising their dreams of going on to play for Premiership Rugby clubs.

And for Sleaford Rugby Club’s star player Matthew Pike, it was a memorable experience as his side showed some incredible talent against tough competition.

Pike, 10, said: “I love all rugby and my team has really good sportsmanship, and we’re all friends so it’s lots of fun with them.

I look forward to playing with my team every week, but it’s really exciting being at a big tournament like this today.

“I really like Owen Farrell - he’s inspiring, and he plays how I want to.”

The 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.

There will be an Under-12 winning team at each festival, with the prize being a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Trophy and a trip to Twickenham for the Premiership Rugby Final, with the successful under 11 team based on their demonstration of the core values of the game during the festival, respect, togetherness, strength of character and composure.

Graduates of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup have gone on to realise their rugby ambitions, with several players now playing for Premiership Rugby clubs, including Louis Lynagh at Harlequins and Callum Chick at Newcastle Falcons.

Tigers players and Land Rover ambassadors Dan Cole, Sean Jansen and Nephi Latigaga were on site to express the importance of such opportunities.

Cole said: “It's brilliant for the game to have tournaments like this. Off the back of England and the Six Nations, and a big Super Saturday, and now kids out today playing just shows what rugby is all about - the core foundation of the game is the grassroots part of it, and I think it's good for Tigers and everyone to support it.

“The Land Rover festivals have been going for over a decade now, and a lot of guys in our academy now and our first team now have been through our systems so it's really good to be here.”

Fresh off his debut on Friday with Tigers, Jansen said: "It's cool to see these young players having such a good time playing rugby, and one day they could be playing for Tigers, so it's brilliant to have these pathways in the UK, thanks to Land Rover."

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