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 London Irish.

Sunbury hosted an exciting Under-11 and Under-12 grassroots developmental festival on Saturday as youngsters at last got the opportunity to lace up their boots again, with Bracknell Rugby Club among the competing teams.

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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.

Bracknell locked horns with a number of clubs from the surrounding area at London Irish’s training ground in a hugely competitive and enjoyable festival of rugby.

And for Bracknell Under-11s player Toby Rance, who has experienced a frustrating time away from the pitch, it was a memorable experience as his side finally got back to playing.

Rance, 10, said: “It has been so exciting, I haven’t done a tournament in two seasons.

“It’s really exciting to be back and I’m just glad I can get back out on the field and play.

“Just getting back into the mood and going against other teams again has been so good.

“I was quite nervous at the start of the day - having not played in so long - because I used to be quite confident in tournaments but now it’s a bit nerve-racking as I forgot what it feels like.

Credit: Anthony Aduhene

Credit: Anthony Aduhene

“I’ve done quite a few things with London Irish before and it is great to be back but my favourite England player is Maro Itoje.”

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 Under-11 and Under-12 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.

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“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.