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More TAG success at Classic encounter

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Despite the driving rain and cold wind, hundreds of youngsters took to the Welford Road pitch prior to Tigers' historic clash against the Classic All Blacks last Sunday.

A total of 20 teams from all around the country took part in our special TAG tournament in celebration of a tough season of rugby and a visit from an extra special group of players from New Zealand. The tournament focussed on two age groups, U-8 and a combined U-9/10 age group, each having 10 teams playing in two leagues of five matches.

With the rules governing mini rugby prohibiting contact rugby after April, it allowed us and the players to focus on showing their abundance of skills and speed in TAG rugby. Both tournaments saw hard-fought league games with each team playing four matches to decide who would have the ultimate honour of playing in the finals in front of an 8,000-strong crowd at half time. In the U-8s tournament, Barkers Butts and Stoke RFC took that honour, with Melton setting up a great final against Telford Hornets in the older age group.

As half-time approached, the 16 teams who didn’t quite make it through to the two finals prepared to take a lap of honour, while the nervous Stoke, Barkers Butts, Melton and Telford players listened to last minute words of advice from their even more nervous coaches and parents.

As Tigers and Ireland star Johne Murphy looked on, the youngsters battled out two superb finals to the cheers and enjoyment of the eager crowd.

Stoke RFC took the U-8s title, piping a tough Barker Butts squad, and local team Melton Mowbray squeezed past a strong Telford Hornets side. Both teams were then presented with their Classic All Black Trophy and Rugby Ball signed by the Classic All Blacks Squad, before all four finalists made it back to the relative safety of the stands as the Tigers and Classic All Black teams took to the pitch for the second half.

Despite the weather, the standard of play throughout the day was superb and the attitude of all the players and coaches was exemplary. We would like to thank all those who took part and we hope they have a great season next year along with a brilliant rugby future.

For more team photos and action shots from the day, please visit the community photo gallery in the community section of Tigers website.