The Aviva Premiership Rugby Final may still be seven months away but youngsters from Worthing Mini Raiders are already counting down the days – after winning Sunday’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup tournament.
Worthing’s under-12s took to the field for the competition, hosted by Wasps Rugby at the King Henry VIII School playing field in Coventry.
Not only did they get to strut their stuff in front of Wasps star Danny Cipriani, but the players also secured the opportunity to appear at next May’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham, where they will take part in a special half-time parade.
More than 30 under-11 and under-12 teams took part in this weekend’s grassroots rugby festival – which is celebrating its tenth anniversary year and has seen more than 70,000 children take part to date – with Sam Mason from Worthing Mini Raiders loving every second.
“It feels really good to have won the tournament here – we won it here last year so to do it again feels extra special – it’s a pretty good record and I’m as excited to go to Twickenham as I was last time,” said the 12-year-old Angmering School pupil from Findon.
“The whole day has been really good. I love the fact we get to play so many games which allows for free-flowing rugby.”
And the side’s coach, Rene Draude, paid tribute to his players and also hailed the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup as an excellent opportunity to grow the game at grassroots level.
“The kids worked really hard. They put a lot of big performances in and defensively, they worked with each other,” said the 39-year-old, who has been a coach at the club for seven years.
“Not only have they played well, they’ve been a good bunch of kids and teammates to have around.
“We travelled three and half hours to get here, so it’s paid off and winning here has definitely made the journey home shorter!
“It’s really important for sponsors like Land Rover to get behind these sort of events. The kids love coming to festivals like these and they’re always really well run. They’re the festivals you always look forward to, because they’re so enjoyable.”
Land Rover is celebrating its ‘Testimonial Season’; ten 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