Olney’s youngsters miss out on the final

Olney U12s
Olney U12s

He may have missed out on the chance of walking out at Twickenham, but Olney under 12 starlet Ollie Gregory insisted he had still loved every minute of his Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup experience.

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.

And it was the turn of Northampton Saints on Saturday to host their Under-12 rugby tournament at Franklin’s Gardens.

In total over 7,000 children will participate over the course of the campaign as they go in search of a spot in the ‘Parade of Champions’ during half-time of the Aviva Premiership Grand Final.

And while Gregory was not able to lift the U12s Cup trophy for a spot at Rugby HQ, his team narrowly missing out in the semi-finals, the 11-year-old enjoyed the occasion.

“What I love about this tournament is playing against other teams that some of my friends play for,” said the Bedford Preparatory School pupil.

“You get an insight into how the Saints team approach the game because you can play on their pitches.

“It’s good to face new opposition and meet new people interested in the same things as you.

“I play as a fullback which is really good because you can make important tackles and learn to catch the ball well.”

Casting an eye over proceedings were Northampton Saints stars Tom Collins and Matt Williams who stressed the importance of playing in competitions like the Land Rover Premiership Cup at a young age.

“Getting that experience of competitive rugby and playing against big rivals from the local area is so important,” Collins revealed.

“A long time ago playing at Under-12 level meant everyone just ran where the ball was but tournaments like this give the lads a chance to get the structure of the game right and focus on the little skills like kicking and passing.”

Williams added: “It’s a bit different where I grew up in South Africa – we could only really play for our school teams.

“So I think these tournaments where youngsters have a chance to play in games with big clubs like Saints watching on are fantastic opportunities.”

Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for over 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup each season. Keep up to date with the latest Land Rover rugby activity by following @LandRoverRugby on Twitter.