By Jonathan Green
After sharing the Twickenham turf with Lions Owen Farrell and George North, Blackheath head coach Andrew Collett admits his U11 side will be forever reliving their Aviva Premiership Final debut.
As Saracens and Northampton Saints battled it out for Aviva Premiership glory in Saturday’s final, Blackheath U11s also descended on Rugby HQ.
And during half-time Collett’s youngsters got their moment in the spotlight in front of the sell-out 82,000 crowd as they took part in the Land Rover Cup Parade of Champions.
Not only did Blackheath U11s get to walk on the hallowed Twickenham turf, they also got to meet World Cup winner Lewis Moody.
Their time to shine was reward for winning a Land Rover Cup festival held by Harlequins back in October and Collett believes his team loved every minute of their experience of a lifetime.
He said: “Every rugby player and fan dreams of getting the chance to walk out at Twickenham, so for our players to be in front of a 82,000 strong crowd at such a young age was incredible for them.
“Lewis Moody gave some really sound advice and I really hope the boys picked up on it.
“You don’t have to be the best player but everyone offers something to the team and that is the key ethos of rugby.
“The big advantage for us a club is that there are 20 different schools represented so the boys are making friends with people they don’t go to school with.
“To get to experience the Premiership final and walk out at Twickenham with their friends is something the boys will never forget.”
And former England captain Moody admits that he was just as impressed with Blackheath U11s as he was with the two teams going head to head for the Aviva Premiership crown.
“The Land Rover Cup is a fantastic event for inspiring young rugby players,” the Three Lions star said.
“The enjoyment that you see when you meet a group like this and what they’ve gleaned from their time playing and meeting their heroes at the various clubs that they played at and the tournaments run by Premiership teams.
“It’s always nice for the kids to have that added bonus at the end for the kids so they know that if they do go through and progress and are successful then they will have the chance to come to Twickenham.
“The chance to stand on the pitch, the hallowed turf, where their heroes have been – that’s a dream for any rugby player or fan.
“By having these kids come to Twickenham, seeing what it’s about and walking out in front of a bumper crowd, it might inspire them to progress further with their rugby.
“You never know we might see a couple of them as future England stars in World Cups to come.”
Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for 7000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
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