The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup sees over 7,000 youngsters compete across all 12 Aviva Premiership clubs, with the winners from each festival taking part in a half-time Parade of Champions at Twickenham on May 30th.
Seventeen teams and 340 players took part in the Under-12s tournament at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, which saw Silhillians RFC’s Under-12s emerge victorious. The Under-12s will join Silhillians Under-11s at Twickenham for the victory parade as they also lifted their age group’s title in early February. Silhillians player Ben Maguire also took home the Luis Ghaut Saintsman Award for his positive attitude and sportsmanship shown throughout the day.
Matt Allen, Old Scouts Under-12s coach, spoke to SaintsTV about the Twickenham experience that his team received at the parade of champions after they won the Under-11s tournament last year.
“It’s a festival that the boys really look forward to.” Allan said. “The chance to represent the club at Twickenham is a huge bonus. We went down last year after the boys won this tournament.
“Watching the Saints win the Premiership too was the cherry on the cake but the tournament offers them a great opportunity to play some sides that they haven’t played before.
“It was a fantastic day. We had a huge number of parents and other boys come down from the club to watch as well. We took two buses down, the players got to meet Lewis Moody before hand and they had a look around the stadium. Obviously the game was a fantastic occasion and the walk around the pitch at half time for the boys was great so all in all, it was a fantastic experience.”
Iain Keys’ Saffron Walden Under-12s side that were involved in the tournament also had the opportunity to be a part of the guard of honour at the Wasps game on Friday night, as they carried the big shirt onto the pitch.
“They loved it.” Keys told SaintsTV. “It was a very special occasion for them. They got on the pitch and there was obviously loads of crowd noise and lots of people there so it really made them feel a part of it.
“It was a huge thrill for them too and it’s a big occasion that they don’t usually get a chance to do.
“They were all absolutely thrilled to be there and having the chance to be involved in that was great. They had a Q&A session before too where one of the players sat down and answered all of their questions. They really enjoyed that too and they learnt a lot from it.
They enjoyed asking about how the players got to where they are now and how they build their careers. The keen ones were working through in their mind, I can do that as well, so it was really good for them.
Iain also spoke of how he believes tournaments such as the Land Rover Premiership Cup help the players to develop.
“Everything is a test for them at these tournaments. They're playing against people that they don’t know so they have to work everything out from scratch.
“As coaches, we can get them prepped before the game but once they're out on the pitch, they have to come up with a game plan while they're playing which is really good practise for them.”