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Friday, March 7, 2014
Youngsters compete in prestigious Premier Cup
Upminster under-12s got a taste of the big stage as they competed in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, hosted by London Wasps at Farnham Royal.
Around 50 teams from the South East took part, a few miles down the road before Wasps played Sale, with all eyes on the silverware and a spot in the ‘Parade of Champions’ at the Aviva Premiership Grand Final.
Upminster battled manfully, under the gaze of Wasps and England wings Tom Varndell and Christian Wade, but missed out on the prizes, as Beccehamians came out on top in their group.
Head coach Steve Kirk said: “This is really the start of the busy end of the season for us.
“We are current Essex champions so we see ourselves as building from this part of the season, right the way through to the Essex Cup at the end.
“Last year, we actually won the Land Rover cup at Saracens so we decided to come to Wasps this year and test ourselves against different competition.
“The kids are just so excited to be here and we have brought our premier team here and they have been training for this for up to three weeks.
“We have had the team together focused on this and it is a really exciting day for everyone involved.”
Launched in 2008-9, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is the first national grassroots tournament officiated by Premiership Rugby and run in conjunction with all 12 clubs.
Varndell said: “I started rugby at under-9s at Chinnor Rugby Club. It’s fantastic coming back to a tournament like this and seeing the kids doing what I did when I was younger and enjoying it.
“It’s massive for the game and the future of the game. If you can get kids playing at this level now and going through the age groups, it’s what rugby is all about really.
“This is where you are going to get your future superstars from and kids need to enjoy the game.
“Even if they don’t go on to play professionally, if they have happy memories they will get their kids into it. It’s just a cycle and it is so important that Land Rover keeps pumping money in and getting these tournaments going.”
n Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.