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 Chichester RFC 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, Chichester under-12s headed to rugby HQ to share 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 Saracens.
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.
Chichester player Rory Minton was additionally awarded the honour of being his team’s most valuable player and the 12-year-old said the whole day had been one to savour.
“It’s a really good experience to be here in front of all those people,” said the St Phillip Howard pupil. “It’s a great day to be here. I honestly wasn’t expecting it, and it was a really nice surprise to be awarded it from Jason Robinson and Lewis Moody.
I didn’t think I would ever be in front of them and shake their hand – it was incredible to meet them.Rory Minton
“I didn’t think I would ever be in front of them and shake their hand – it was incredible to meet them.”
Chichester were one of 24 under-11 and under-12 teams in attendance – 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 past decade, more than 82,000 youngsters have participated in the tournament, with Robinson, 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.”
* 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