Junior stars from Teddington RFC are continuing to make waves in youth rugby thanks to their performance at this weekend’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
The Bushy Park-based club took to the pitch at an event hosted by Harlequins this Saturday, helping celebrate the 12th season of the nationwide grassroots rugby initiative.
More than 85,000 children have taken part to date – enough to comfortably fill Twickenham Stadium – providing developmental experience for young players to excel in a professionally run environment.
Harlequins played host at Staines RFC on Saturday, with more than 30 teams strutting their stuff across an under-12 and under-11 festival.
In the under-11 competition two Teddington sides demonstrated plenty of effort and skill but fell just short of earning a trip to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final on June 20.
That honour instead went to Haywards Heath RFC, who will get the chance to meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup parade at half-time, plus find out who has won the Junior Land Rover Discovery of The Season award.
But despite missing out on a place at Twickenham, Teddington Lions’ Hayden Elliott, 11, was still proud of his side’s performances.
He said: “I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was so excited, and it’s been an incredible day.
“We played really well, but the standard of the other players and teams was really high.
“I’ve played for Teddington for about six years, so I know the team really well and I’ve definitely made friends for life.
“You can see that on the pitch. We all love the sport – it brings a side out of me that nothing else can and I really enjoy just getting out there on the pitch.”
Participating players at the festival also had the opportunity to meet Harlequins players Archie White, Phil Swainston and Jack Musk, who took time out of their schedule to watch the young teams as well as offer some coaching tips between games.
And back-rower White was delighted with what he saw, saying: “It’s great to have been able to witness just how much the kids loved being out there and the camaraderie on show was brilliant.
“Being able to give back to the community is great for me because rugby doesn’t work without the grassroots and it’s where all of us professionals started out.
“It’s great to be able to give kids these sorts of opportunities and help inspire them to continue playing rugby at any level they want.
“It’s also been amazing to see how inclusive and accessible the tournament was – with girls and boys playing together – and I think that shows just how impressive the initiative is.”
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