Olney under 12s coach Sarah Brooks wants her stars to make the most of their Twickenham experience next weekend, insisting they fully deserve their time on the big stage.
As Saracens and Northampton Saints do battle to determine who walks away with this year’s top prize at the Aviva Premiership Grand Final next Saturday, the hallowed Twickenham turf will be graced by Olney’s young guns at half-time.
And much like Sarries and Saints, Olney faced an arduous journey to make it to Rugby HQ as they came out on top of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup festival hosted by Northampton Saints in November.
Olney finished top of the pile as the great and the good of local grassroots rugby came together and their prize is a spot in the ‘Parade of Champions’ at half-time of the Aviva Premiership Grand Final.
And after toppling all those before them to make it to Twickenham, Brooks is urging her players to soak up the experience as they share the spotlight with their idols.
“We won the tournament last year as well so everyone’s really excited to visit Twickenham again, especially since Northampton Saints reached the final,” she said.
“We’re planning to take around 60 people, although now Saints are playing then I imagine the whole club will be attending!
“In the past few years we’ve played our strongest team in the Land Rover Cup, but this year we played with a lot more of the squad players to give them a good experience.
“A lot of teams they played against had their A teams out, so it was great for the boys and girls at the club to come out on top against them.”
And while some of Olney under-12s’ Twickenham experience will start and end next Saturday, World Cup winner Lewis Moody is adamant the occasion will continue to have a positive effect on their lives.
“The teams taking part in the Parade of Champions worked hard to win their respective cup competitions and they fully deserve this fantastic reward,” Moody said.
“The kids will get to see and experience Twickenham and be on centre stage, get to walk on to the pitch and they will be walking on the same grass that their international heroes will be walking on in a year’s time at the World Cup.
“My first game at Twickenham was when I was 18 I think for the England Under-21s and it was before or after one of the internationals and it was still an amazing occasion.
“There was a bit of a sparse crowd then, but for these kids it was be a packed house, so they will get the experience the noise and atmosphere which is fantastic.”
Lewis Moody is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.