Haywards Heath Rugby Club Under-11 starlet Zac Palmer insists he loved every minute of his Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup experience despite missing out on a place at Twickenham.
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.
We have lots of banter and we know everyone’s strength. That’s what makes us so hard to beatZac Palmer
And over the weekend Harlequins hosted the latest leg of the competition, as the top local Under-11 rugby teams met at Richmond upon Thames College in the shadow of Twickenham Stadium.
In total over 7,000 children will participate during the course of the campaign as they go in search of a spot in the ‘Parade of Champions’ at half-time of the Aviva Premiership Grand Final at Twickenham in May.
And while Palmer was not able to lift the Under-11s trophy, his team narrowly failing to reach the final, the 11-year-old remained proud of his side.
“The tournament went really well for us, I loved playing in something like this with my friends,” said the Great Warstead School pupil.
“It was getting harder and harder playing against teams you don’t normally play against. It was a good challenge and something we coped with well.
“I’ve been playing rugby since I was five or six years old. We enjoy playing together and the more you play with each other the more you get to know them.
“We have lots of banter and we know everyone’s strength. That’s what makes us so hard to beat.
“It would have been absolutely amazing to go on the pitch at Twickenham, I can’t imagine it. It’s probably the biggest and best rugby stadium in the world.”
Harlequins Academy stars Archie White and Sam Aspland Robinson were also at Richmond upon Thames College to support the day – both admitting they were very impressed with the talent on display.
And much as similar events did for him, flanker White believes the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup will help all the youngsters develop a lifelong love of the sport.
“Growing up, I played for Sutton and Epsom, so you’re coming to these sort of things all the time,” said White.
“Being able to put your talent on show in front of some of these guys is a really good experience for the youngsters and I think it’s great for the future.
“Getting people more involved in the sport is the main thing and that starts with grassroots rugby.
“I’m sure that’s where most professionals started – it’s a massive experience and it’s growing as well. It’s so good for the future of the sport.”
Land Rover is a proud supporter of grassroots rugby and a partner of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for nearly a decade. Land Rover’s ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign aims to champion grassroots rugby on the global stage during Rugby World Cup 2015. Follow @Land RoverRugby #WeDealInReal
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