The Aviva Premiership Rugby season may be over for another year but memories of the 2018 final will live long in the memory for youngsters from Warrington and Macclesfield after they got to experience a special day out at Twickenham Stadium.
Thanks to their involvement with the testimonial season of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, Warrington Under-11s and Macclesfield Under-12s headed to rugby HQ on Saturday where they shared the turf with World Cup winners Lewis Moody and Jason Robinson.
That came after they secured their spot at the showpiece event at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup festival hosted by Sale Sharks.
Their reward for their efforts also included the chance to watch Exeter Chiefs and Saracens battle it out for the title as well as meeting with former England stars Moody and Robinson pre-match.
Warrington player Sonny Barnes was additionally awarded the honour of being his team’s Most Valuable Player, and the 11-year-old admitted the whole day had been one to savour.
“It’s just been a great experience to get nominated, go out on that pitch and experience what it’s like to be on a famous ground,” said the Thelwall Community Junior pupil.
“It was unbelievable to meet Lewis Moody and Jason Robinson, I really enjoyed it.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a great experience.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I have done well this year. I recently got Players’ Player, so I am really happy.”
Warrington were one of 24 under-11 and under-12 teams in attendance for the final – representing two sides for each age category from the festivals hosted by each of the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs throughout the season.
This campaign represented a milestone season with this the tenth anniversary of the national grassroots rugby initiative.
Over the course of the last decade, more than 82,000 youngsters have participated in the tournament, with Robinson, who is a Land Rover ambassador alongside Moody, praising the opportunities afforded to the rugby players at such a young age.
“It’s a unique chance to walk and be on the hallowed turf of Twickenham so for these youngsters it’s a great opportunity as it’s such an impressive environment,” he said.
“They have come through such a great journey and Land Rover have been embedded in grassroots rugby and Premiership Rugby at so many different levels of the game.
“It’s awesome that you can bring kids through and see them enjoy an experience that I’ve also enjoyed. It’s one of those experiences that only comes around once in your life.
“Hopefully some of them will be inspired enough through this to further their rugby careers to whatever level that may be, some might even get to play at Twickenham at a senior level or junior level and I hope that happens for them.
“It’s a unique day created by the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, it’s really special and it brings teams from all over the place together to play against each other.”
The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup has concluded its testimonial season. In the last decade, over 82,000 youngsters have participated in the grassroots tournament; enough to fill Twickenham Stadium. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal