Stour starlets tread the Twickenham turf
The Gallagher Premiership Rugby season may be over for another year but memories of the 2019 final will live long in the memory for youngsters from Stourbridge RFC Under-12s after their special day out at Twickenham Stadium.
Thanks to their involvement with the latest season of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, Stourbridge RFC Under-12s headed to rugby HQ on Saturday where they shared the turf with World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson.
That came after they secured their spot at the showpiece event at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup festival hosted by Worcester Warriors.
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 star Johnson pre-match.
Stourbridge player Todd Stevens was additionally awarded the honour of being nominated for the Junior Land Rover Discovery of the Season award, with the 12-year-old admitting the whole day had been one to savour.
“I’m proud and very happy to have been nominated for the award at Twickenham,” said Todd. “I’d never been to the stadium before, so it was a really enjoyable day.
“I was so excited to go down onto the pitch – a little bit nervous, too!
“It was so cool to see what the players see when they walk out for the final.”
“I’ve really enjoyed playing rugby with my team this season. It’s great to spend time with them and have their support on days like today.”
Stourbridge Under-12s were one of 24 under-11 and under-12 teams in attendance for the final – representing two sides for each age category from the festivals hosted by each of the 12 Gallagher Premiership Rugby clubs throughout the season.
This is the 11th year of the national grassroots rugby initiative, with more than 85,000 youngsters participating in the event to date – enough to fill Twickenham Stadium
Players such as Newcastle Falcons’ Callum Chick started life on the pitches of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, with Land Rover ambassador Johnson praising the opportunities afforded to players at a young age.
“It’s all about giving people the opportunity to play,” said Johnson.
“It’s great to see kids just playing and enjoying themselves. Being here at Twickenham, they will all have a dream that one day they’ll play here for their club or their country.
“I see lots of guys who didn’t get into rugby until their 20s and 30s and they wish they’d gotten into it when they were younger.”
“We know about the health benefits but there are lots of life benefits of playing rugby too, it’s the entire thing, you get involved with something that’s bigger than the whole game.
“But, ultimately, I tell kids all the time, why do we play sport? Because we enjoy doing it. We enjoy playing with our team mates, the camaraderie of it, we enjoy the challenge, so anytime you can get people together is good.”
Land Rover has heritage in rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite, sharing and understanding the values at the heart of the game. Follow @LandRoverRugby