REDDITCH U11s star Billy Hensey may have missed out on appearing at the Aviva Premiership rugby final at Twickenham, but insists he experienced a memorable weekend at a festival organised by Worcester Warriors.
Hensey and his Redditch U11s team-mates had been hoping to head to Twickenham on May 27 to meet an England 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade at half-time, but it was not to be despite a strong performance at the rugby festival.
Hensey and his team received the opportunity to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup – a nationwide series for U11 and U12 teams – on Saturday at Sixways Stadium in Worcester.
Redditch showed maturity beyond their years as they played with a combination of brave tackling, crisp passes and slick offloads in a tournament organised by Worcester Warriors which featured 30 teams including Worcester, Stourbridge, Wolverhampton and Silhillians.
Hensey said: “I’ve really enjoyed the whole day. It’s really fun playing all the different teams and going against them and trying to play your best rugby.
“This is the first time I’ve played in a Land Rover Cup and it’s something I’m looking forward to hopefully playing in again going forward. I feel like I’m learning a lot from it.
“Worcester are the closest Premiership club to Redditch and playing right next to Sixways has been a great experience.
“I’m a Warriors fan and I’ve managed to get on the pitch a couple of times for half time games. Hopefully I’ll get to do that at Twickenham as well at some point.”
Nearly 68,000 children have taken part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, which provides opportunities for U11 and U12 players to play, develop and excel.
Launched during the 2008/09 season, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is the first national grassroots tournament officiated by Premiership Rugby and run in conjunction with all 12 clubs.
The festivals around the country celebrate rugby’s traditional core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, rewarding players’ conduct, sideline conduct and game-play.
Worcester Warriors back rower Matt Cox turned up to support the event at Sixways and, after signing autographs and having his picture taken with the young players, he praised what the festival does for grassroots rugby and how it inspires children to stay involved in the sport.
Cox said: “It’s great to see so many young kids get the chance to play right next to Sixways and there’s such a good prize at the end of it. Going to Twickenham is what every player dreams of when growing up.
“Worcester has a good record when it comes to bringing young players through its academy and hopefully playing in this will inspire some of them to follow in our footsteps.
“The standard of play has been good and I’ve been surprised with just how intense it’s been, considering these kids are only 11 or 12 years old.”
Land Rover is a proud supporter of grassroots rugby and has been a partner of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for nearly a decade. Land Rover’s ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign continues to champion grassroots rugby through Premiership Rugby and the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal.