JUNIOR stars from Cricklade RFC U11s are continuing to make waves in youth rugby thanks to their performance at last weekend’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.

The club took to the pitch at an event hosted by London Irish this Sunday, 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.

London Irish played host at Hazelwood on Sunday, with 30 teams strutting their stuff across an U12 and U11 festival.

In the U11 competition, Cricklade demonstrated plenty of effort and skill but fell just short of earning a trip to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final on June 20, as New Milton and District won through.

Despite missing out on a place at Twickenham, Cricklade player Josh was thrilled with the tournament experience.

He said: “It is always about playing as a team in rugby and that is what makes it so fun.

“We have individual friendly matches all year but when it gets to a tournament it is really nice to play other teams.

“I love Bath because they have got England players like Sam Underhill and Anthony Watson.

“Watching them at the Rugby World Cup in Japan was great, despite the final being disappointing.

“Watson is my idol - he has fantastic footwork and can produce some magic with the ball. He is just great to watch.”

Participating players at the festival also had the opportunity to meet London Irish player Sam Collingridge, who took time out of his schedule to watch the young teams as well as offer some coaching tips between games.

He commented on the importance of grassroots rugby, helping to provide developmental experience for young players to excel in a professionally run environment.

He said: “Tournaments like this are massively important. I think for the children to be able to play and be under the name of Land Rover makes it seem so important for them. It is great to see the amount of families here enjoying it.

“There are some hot steppers out there. I have seen so many bright talents and even some I would not want to play against - they would be running rings around me. The standard is better than I was expecting.

“It is always great to come to these things. It makes you feel a little bit special, which is always nice and watching them play is always good fun.”

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