11:56AM, Tuesday 12 November 2019
Junior stars from Maidenhead RFC and Windsor RFC are continuing to make waves in youth rugby thanks to their performance at this weekend’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
The Braywick Park and Home Park based clubs took to the pitch at an event hosted by Harlequins this Saturday, helping celebrate the 12th season of the nationwide grassroots rugby initiative.
More than 85,000 children have taken part to date – enough to comfortably fill Twickenham Stadium – providing developmental experience for young players to excel in a professionally run environment.
Harlequins played host at Staines RFC on Saturday, with more than 30 teams strutting their stuff across an u12s and u11s festival.
With teams in both the u12s and u11s competitions, Maidenhead and Windsor demonstrated plenty of effort and skill but fell just short of earning a trip to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final on June 20.
That honour instead went to Chobham u12s and Haywards Heath u11s, who will get the chance to meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup parade at half-time, plus find out who has won the Junior Land Rover Discovery of The Season award.
But despite missing out on a place at Twickenham, Maidenhead u12s star Tom Dargan was still proud of his side’s performances.
He said: “I’ve played for the club since U6s and it means a lot to me. We’re quite a strong team – we won the LRPRC that Saracens hosted – so we were confident coming into this tournament.
“We’re all good friends and we all support and encourage each other on the pitch so that has been good to see again.
“My inspiration is Mako Vunipola and seeing him play well in the Rugby World Cup has made me even more determined to continue playing rugby and be as successful as possible going forward.”
Participating players at the festival also had the opportunity to meet Harlequins players Archie White, Phil Swainston and Jack Musk, who took time out of their schedule to watch the young teams as well as offer some coaching tips between games.
And back-rower White was delighted with what he saw, saying: “It’s great to have been able to witness just how much the kids loved being out there and the camaraderie on show was brilliant.
“Being able to give back to the community is great for me because rugby doesn’t work without the grassroots and it’s where all of us professionals started out.
“It’s great to be able to give kids these sorts of opportunities and help inspire them to continue playing rugby at any level they want.
“It’s also been amazing to see how inclusive and accessible the tournament was – with girls and boys playing together – and I think that shows just how impressive the initiative is.”
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
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