Hundreds of young players got the chance to show off their skills and love for the game as the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup returned to Leicester Tigers last weekend.
Tigers hosted the grassroots developmental festival for under-11s and under-12s at Oakham Rugby Club with teams from across the region taking part.
This successful series of nationwide events, now running for nearly two decades and organised by Land Rover – the Official Vehicle of Premiership Rugby – has seen more than 100,000 children take part so far, with some realising their dreams of going on to play for Premiership Rugby clubs.
Tiger stars Dan Cole, Sean Jansen and Nephi Leatigaga were in attendance, with 22 clubs across the two age-groups competing in a celebration of the sport’s grassroots foundations.
There was also the prize of attending the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season finale at Twickenham Stadium at stake for one team in each age group.
Old Northamptonians were victorious the Under-12 category and will head to the Final this in June.
Player Max Harris said: “I love the game and taking part in the best sport in the world.
“My team are great – I love the camaraderie, working together, and building friendships, and my coaches are supportive and tell us what we need to do to keep getting better.
“To win is amazing. I’m so excited to go to Twickenham.”
Head Coach Ricky Ansell added: “I’m proud of all the kids. They just got better and better as the tournament went on and the opposition was superb so it’s been a great day.
“This is the best event we’ve come to. The referees were fantastic, it was so well organised and the kids are going to love going to Twickenham.”
Market Harborough will be the representatives from the Under-11 category.
Player Cian Allen Tristram said: “Today has been great – I like the sportsmanship and everybody has been encouraging.”
The event was a celebration of grassroots rugby and a real treat for the young rugby stars as Cole, Jansen and Leatigaga 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 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 long time and a lot of guys in our academy and our first team now have been through our systems so it's really good to be here.”
Fresh from his Tigers debut on Friday, 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, 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