Harlequins host Bognor rugby youngsters

Bognor U11s at the Harlequins-run event
Bognor U11s at the Harlequins-run event

Junior stars from Bognor RFC are making waves in youth rugby thanks to their performance at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.

The Hampshire Avenue-based club took to the pitch at an event hosted by Harlequins, helping celebrate the 12th season of the nationwide grassroots rugby initiative.

More than 85,000 children have taken part to date – enough to comfortably fill Twickenham Stadium – providing developmental experience for young players to excel in a professionally run environment.

Harlequins played host at Staines RFC with more than 30 teams strutting their stuff across an under-12 and under-11 festival.

In the under-11 competition Bognor demonstrated plenty of effort and skill but fell just short of earning a trip to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final on June 20.

That honour instead went to Haywards Heath who will get the chance to meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup parade at half-time, plus find out who has won the Junior Land Rover Discovery of The Season award.

But despite missing out on a place at Twickenham, Bognor’s Ted Lang was still proud of his side’s performances.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed everything about this tournament because our team worked well together, and I got to meet a lot of people and made some new friends.

“We liked playing against so many teams because we were able to improve in every match.

“It was nice to be on the field and I am happy because I got to do a lot of hooking in the scrum.

“My favourite team is Harlequins and I want to play for them when I grow up, so it’s nice to have played in a tournament that is being hosted by them.”

Participating players at the festival also had the opportunity to meet Harlequins players Archie White, Phil Swainston and Jack Musk, who took time out of their schedule to watch the young teams as well as offer some coaching tips between games.

And back-rower White was delighted with what he saw, saying: “It’s great to have been able to witness just how much the kids loved being out there and the camaraderie on show was brilliant.

“Being able to give back to the community is great for me because rugby doesn’t work without the grassroots and it’s where all of us professionals started out.

“It’s great to be able to give kids these sorts of opportunities and help inspire them to continue playing rugby at any level they want.

“It’s also been amazing to see how inclusive and accessible the tournament was – with girls and boys playing together – and I think that shows just how impressive the initiative is.”

* Land Rover has heritage in rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite, sharing and understanding the values at the heart of the game. Follow @LandRoverRugby