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Shipston-on-Stour RFC juniors back in action

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WITH normality finally starting to return to the UK, it was rugby’s opportunity to take centre stage this weekend as the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup returned at Wasps.

Old Leamingtonians Rugby Club hosted an exciting U11 and U12 grassroots developmental festival on Sunday as youngsters at last got the opportunity to lace up their boots again, with Shipston-on-Stour RFC among the competing teams.

This successful series of nationwide events, now running for nearly two decades and organised by Land Rover – the official vehicle of Premiership Rugby – has seen more than 100,000 children take part to date, with some realising their dreams of going on to play for Premiership Rugby clubs.

Shipston locked horns with several rival clubs from the Warwickshire area in a hugely competitive and enjoyable festival of rugby.

And for Shipston U12s star Ted Grange, who has experienced a frustrating time away from the pitch, it was a memorable experience as their side finally got back to playing.

Grange, 12, said: “It is pretty good to be back playing rugby and winning a few games too.

“I was pretty nervous at the start of the tournament but after playing a few games it was fine.

“We did a lot of practicing at Shipston when we couldn’t play tournaments, but I didn’t think I was prepared for this until we actually played a game.

“I like the pressure in matches because it gives you a sense of excitement when you are playing with your team-mates, and you know you are actually helping the team.

“The teamwork and socialising together again is great.

“The best bit about it is that you can trust your team-mates and you know they are not going to let you down.

“We couldn’t do contact in lockdown but we practiced our tactics and skills like passing.

“My favourite team that I support is Northampton Saints and I really started to look up to them when I went to a match and got my ball signed.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the Premiership Rugby final and probably want Harlequins to win.”

The competition was a fantastic spectacle for those in attendance, with the highly competitive fixtures providing a meaningful platform for youngsters to develop their rugby skills.

Land Rover ambassador Lewis Moody, who racked up 71 caps for England, added: “The return of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup across the country is a huge boost for grassroots rugby.

“It is one of the longest standing national series of rugby festivals for U11 and U12 youngsters and is always a date in season that clubs look forward to being part of.

“It cannot be underestimated how important these grassroots rugby events are for rugby in the UK. Youngsters will learn vital lessons by playing in these festivals, that will serve them on and off the rugby pitch.

“To date, over 100,000 youngsters have taken part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, with several players going on to play for Premiership Rugby clubs.

"This shows the pathway these youngsters can take on their rugby journey, thanks to Land Rover’s support of grassroots rugby.”

The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is testament to Land Rover’s commitment to supporting rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite. Follow @LandRoverRugby to discover more. #DiscoverRugby

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