By Paddy von Behr
Beccehamian U12 starlets got a taste of the big stage on Sunday as they competed at Farnham Royal in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, an event hosted by London Wasps.
Before London Wasps played Sale Sharks, just a few miles down the road around 50 teams from SE England went head-to-head.
All had their eyes on taking home silverware and, with it, earning a spot in the Parade of Champions during half-time of the Aviva Premiership Grand Final.
Under the watchful eyes of London Wasps and England wingers Christian Wade and Tom Varndell, Beccehamian landed the U12 crown and the right toappear at Twickenham in May.
“Trying to get the boys motivated is never easy after getting up at 6am, but we love the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup,” said Justin Ellis, who is the Beccehamian U12s’ head coach.
“This is our third time playing in the Land Rover Cup, we have won it the last two years.
“It’s quite nice to come up from Kent and play some different opposition as well.
“With the weather they haven’t played for a while so to get an opportunity to get out and play is pretty good.
“It is pretty much our focus for the season. It’s an opportunity to come up to Wasps, play different opposition and see where we are pitched.
“To come up and play teams from different regions is a good experience for the boys.
“They have come here from outside the county and done really well – they haven’t conceded a try or lost a game. They are chuffed to bits.
“They are elated and looking forward to going back to the club and celebrating.”
Launched in 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.
Casting his eye over the talent was Varndell and the wing admitted the future of rugby in the London Wasps catchment area is in good hands.
“I started rugby at U9s at Chinnor Rugby Club,” said Varndell.
“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, especially when the weather is like this, it is fantastic.
“Its massive for the game and it is massive for the future of the game.
“If you can get kids playing at this level now and then 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.”
Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
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