The fairy-tale continued for Teddington RFC’s Tom Pugh after he joined Premiership Rugby’s biggest names at a star-studded season launch at Twickenham last week.
Pugh, 11, who will start at Orleans Park School this September, rubbed shoulders with the likes of England trio Ben Youngs, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley as the world’s media descended on Twickenham.
The youngster was invited to England HQ by Land Rover to mark its Testimonial Season which celebrates ten-years supporting grassroots rugby in the UK through their sponsorship of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
Last season Pugh was hand-picked at a Harlequins-run tournament, where he was selected as the competition’s MVP and was rewarded by appearing at Twickenham back in May for the Premiership Final.
As a promising young rugby player, Barnes enjoyed the chance to spend some time with Harlequins star Danny Care, picking up some vital tips.
“When I walked out onto the pitch during the final, I was really nervous and the atmosphere was really loud,” said Pugh, a former pupil at St Marys Primary C of E Primary in Twickenham.
“I do like Danny Care, I think he’s a very good player and meeting him has inspired me to work on my kicking part to my game this year.
“I was really pumped when I met him today, especially when he shook my hand. He asked me if I’d be a scrum-half, which I want to be when I’m older.
“I want to come back and do the competition next year, it was different to other competitions that I’ve played in.”
The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is a series of national grassroots rugby festivals for U11 and U12 rugby teams.
Run in conjunction with all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, the regional rugby events are an essential part of the UK rugby calendar. To date, nearly 70,000 youngsters have participated in the tournament since its inception.
“Over the years, I have had the chance to meet many of the youngsters to have taken part in the Land Rover Premiership Cup and have seen first-hand the importance of these grassroots rugby festivals,” said Land Rover ambassador and former England rugby captain Lewis Moody.
“The rugby skills, values, teamwork and sheer enjoyment the young rugby players take away are invaluable to the good health of the sport.”
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
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