He may have missed out on the chance of walking out at Twickenham, but Peterborough Rugby Club Under 11 starlet Josh Webster insisted he had still loved every minute of his Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup experience.
Launched during the 2008-09 season, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is the first national grassroots tournament officiated by Premiership Rugby and run in conjunction with all 12 clubs.
And on Saturday (February 7) Northampton Saints hosted the first event of 2015 as local under 11 mini-rugby teams met at Franklin’s Gardens training pitches, before heading into the stadium to watch the Saints’ 29-6 victory over Wasps later in the day.
In total over 7,000 children will participate over the course of the campaign as they go in search of a spot in the ‘Parade of Champions’ during half-time of the Aviva Premiership Grand Final.
And while Webster was not able to lift the Under 11 Cup trophy for a spot at rugby HQ, his team missing out on a semi-final spot after winning two of their four pool games, the 10 year-old remained proud of his side.
“Being here today and winning a few times has been brilliant,” said the Northborough Primary School pupil. “But just taking part is important too.
“It’s a lot of fun at festivals like this and there are a lot of good teams here. Playing rugby is really fun because it’s a high-intensity sport and you are part of a team.
“Days like this definitely help us improve as a team because it is a long way to come, and we get to know each other better and have fun with each other.
“We also play better rugby because we can see the other teams and learn from them if they do things better than you.
“It’s very exciting that Northampton put this day on for us as they are a professional club and it’s cool that we get to come here and they are interested in our rugby.
“We came last year too so hopefully we can come back again. It’s really good to watch the professional players in the afternoon too and I’d love to play for Northampton one day.”
Casting an eye over proceedings were Saints young guns Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Harry Mallinder who joined in with some drills and took part in a Q&A session, and centre Mallinder believes he saw more than a few players with huge potential.
He said: “Grassroots rugby is very important and it’s great to come down here at the weekend and see so many young people, young boys and girls, taking part in rugby at a young age.
“At this stage it’s all about getting out there playing with some good experience from good coaches, and then they get to stay and watch the game later.
“It’s really good for Saints and for the youth development at the club.
“I definitely enjoy doing a bit of coaching for the kids, because there were people who did the same for me when I was this age.
“It was always nice to have someone to look up to – a senior player to watch on the TV and focus on – and if you see them and talk to them in person it makes their day so it’s great to help out.”
Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for over 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup each season. Keep up to date with the latest Land Rover rugby activity by following @LandRoverRugby on Twitter.