Jason Robinson, the Curry brothers: Former Sale winger hails 10 years of Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup

It’s a decade-long grassroots rugby event which has seen enough young participants to completely fill Twickenham Stadium, and helped start the career of a number of professional players, including Sale Sharks double act Sam and Ben Curry.

And now World Cup winner Jason Robinson has urged young players from the region to keep chasing their own sporting dreams after playing their part in a historic Testimonial Season of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.

Back in October, aspiring young stars got the chance to show off their moves as Sale Sharks played host to the grassroots rugby festival for U11 and U12 rugby teams.

Last weekend saw the final club, Bath Rugby, run their event as the final two teams to take part in a special half-time parade during the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on May 26 were identified.

Macclesfield RUFC U12s and Warrington RUFC U11s are the two lucky clubs to go forward from the Sale Sharks event, which is run in conjunction with all 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby Clubs.

But former winger Robinson believes all of this season’s participants should hold their heads high after their efforts on the pitch.

By the end of this campaign, there will have been 137 festivals over the last ten years, amounting to 3,948 teams and an impressive 82,000 participants – enough to fill England Rugby HQ.

“It’s been fantastic and as somebody who has played grassroots, played at the highest level and is now coaching in grassroots, it’s great that Land Rover is promoting all levels,” said Land Rover ambassador Robinson.

“You only have to look at the impact over the last ten years and the amount of kids that have been involved – and it’s not just been great for those who play in the final, it’s been a pathway as well for those who have played in the festivals.

“Not many people are able to say that they have run out at Twickenham and if you are one of the lucky ones to do that it’s a memory that will stay with you for life.

“It’s just an amazing place, obviously the history, the crowds, the excitement I’m sure they’ll have on the day and the lasting memories of knowing that their heroes play there.

“For them to get to do that and to have the opportunity to do it is just fantastic, so that will be an inspiration for them all to keep playing hard and hopefully one day they’ll get the chance to come back again as a professional.

“It’s one of those experiences I’m not sure they can prepare themselves for because just being around the stadium is something special and walking out that tunnel is an experience to cherish.”

The very first Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup took place at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday November 22, 2008.

The 12 current Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs, plus Leeds, Bristol and London Welsh, have hosted events across 41 different venues, while 1,260 balls and 1,560 post pads have been used.

On the pitch, 6,500 youngsters have had the chance to run out at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final while Sale Sharks and England twins Ben and Sam Curry both honed their skills at the grassroots festival.

And Robinson believes other players can draw inspiration from their achievements.

“We’ve seen youngsters come through and go on to play professional rugby, which is fantastic, and it’s great to be able to encourage the kids and give them an opportunity to play teams they would not normally face as well,” he said.

“As we look to these semi-finals of the Premiership, grassroots is so key to sustaining that and that’s why it is so important as you can never promote grassroots enough.

“All those who are involved in it will know that those guys have come through and it does give you hope as there is no reason why you can’t be one of those next players down the line.

“I’m sure the likes of Sam and Ben Curry had dreams and aspirations when they were playing in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup and all of a sudden you see them playing Premiership Rugby and international rugby, so it’s fantastic and long may it continue.”

Robinson was speaking on behalf of Land Rover, who this year is celebrating its Testimonial Season; ten years of supporting grassroots rugby in the UK. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal

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