Peterborough Rugby Club Under 11 star William Bird may have missed out on appearing at the Aviva Premiership Final at Twickenham but still insisted he experienced a memorable weekend at a festival organised by Northampton Saints
Bird and his Peterborough Rugby Club Under 11 team-mates had been hoping to head to Twickenham on May 27 to meet an England 2003 World Cup winner and join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup parade at half-time – but it wasn’t to be despite a strong performance at the festival.
Bird and his team received the opportunity after taking part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup – a nationwide series for Under 11 and Under 12 teams – on Saturday (September 24) at Franklins Gardens.
The tournament was organised by Northampton and saw Peterborough play in a pool alongside Towcestrians, Buckingham and Kettering, before progressing to a secondary phase where they locked horns with Banbury, Rushden & Higham and Huntingdon Stags. In total more than 22 teams took part in the festival.
“It was a great day and really interesting to see us play against so many different teams. To play at Northampton was very exciting and it was nice to watch them afterwards,” 10-year-old Bird said.
“The tournament was great. There were lots of teams and lots of good rugby and then to see Dylan Hartley appear was great.
“I love the kicking part of rugby and so to do more of that was awesome – Dan Biggar is my inspiration and I really want to play like him so it was good to practice.
“This was a very important tournament for us and also for Northampton. Rugby is a great sport – much better than football – and I am very happy I got to play in this.”
The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup has seen nearly 68,000 children take part to date, from all over the country, providing opportunities for U11 and U12 players to play, develop and excel in the game.
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.
The festivals around the country celebrate rugby’s traditional core values of team work, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, rewarding players conduct, side-line conduct and game play.
Saints hooker Dylan Hartley took time to visit the tournament on the Franklin’s Gardens training pitches, meeting the youngsters, their coaches and parents, and the England captain highlighted the importance of junior rugby in the club’s future success.
He said: “Having the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup at Franklins Gardens is always a great day of rugby. Youngsters look forward to it each year and the quality of rugby on show reflects this.
“For the teams taking part, they get the chance to play in meaningful fixtures and learn the core values of the game, something that is important from a grassroots level all the way to the elite.
“It is great to see support from the likes of Land Rover for the development of the game that is such a big part of my life.”
Land Rover is a proud supporter of grassroots rugby and has been a partner of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for nearly a decade. Land Rover’s ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign continues to champion grassroots rugby through Premiership Rugby and the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal.