Youngsters from Manchester Rugby Club will embark on the first step towards a dream Twickenham appearance on Sunday as the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup returns for its seminal testimonial season; celebrating its tenth year.
The under-11 and under-12 grassroots rugby festival is part of a series of nationwide events which provide aspiring young players the opportunity to play in a competitive event and meet professional players from Sale Sharks.
With 22 under-11 and 22 under-12 teams competing at Manchester Rugby Club, Manchester Under-11 and Under-12 will get a true taste of the professional game.
And for Sale and Australian utility back James O’Connor, there is nothing more important than supporting youth rugby.
“I always missed out on competitions like these Land Rover ones to be honest, my parents didn’t want to drive to those extra little things,” he said.
“My grassroots were amazing though, they’re some of the highlights of growing up, spending all day Saturday with your mates mucking around and end up spending the whole weekend there.
“I’ve kept in touch with like three of the guys I played with at Under-5s but apart from that most of my mates are from Under-15s.
“I would’ve been one of the kids asking all the questions at these events, for sure.”
In addition to Sunday’s event, one team from each age group will receive a trip to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on May 26, where they will meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade at half-time and hear which of them has won a club MVP award.
The events are designed to provide young players with a chance to play completive fixtures in a format that is appropriate for their ages and stage of development, all within the spirit of rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
And in the decade since its inception the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup has seen more than 70,000 children take part, from all over the country.
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