He may have missed out on the chance of walking out at Twickenham, but Western Vikings under-11 starlet Tony Poole-Wilson insisted he had still loved every minute of his Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup experience.
Launched during the 2008-09 season, the cup is the first national grassroots tournament officiated by Premiership Rugby and run in conjunction with all 12 clubs.
Last week Sale Sharks hosted the first event of the new season, as the top local u11s and u12s mini rugby teams met at Manchester RC.
In total more than 7,000 children will participate over the course of the campaign as they go in search of a spot in the ‘Parade of Champions’ during half-time of the Aviva Premiership Grand Final.
And while Poole-Wilson was not able to lift the u11s cup for a spot at Rugby HQ, his team performed well in their pool matches and the 11-year-old remained proud of his side.
‘The tournament’s been good,’ said the Marown Primary School pupil.
‘I think we’ve just had our spirit drop within the team recently. Just playing rugby is great - I like using energy and I do also like playing with my team-mates.
‘It would have been really good to get to Twickenham - we’re not there yet, but I think a couple more years and we might still have a chance.
‘We’ve got a fairly new team – for some people it’s their first time on tour and for others it’s their third time I think, so tournaments like this are helpful.’
Sale Sharks were out in force to support the day, with four of their players – including Danny Cipriani and Mark Easter - casting an eye over proceedings.
Cipriani insists it was amazing to see the game alive and well and says he saw plenty of potential in the young guns. ‘It’s nice to see the kids because it’s what it is all about really and when I was younger you didn’t really see too many senior players around so this is an honour,’ he said.
‘It was always an inspirational thing for me every Sunday to meet up with my mates playing rugby and that’s what got me into it.
‘A lot of the England team are northern and there is a big influence on the game up here and it’s amazing to see so many kids out here today.’
Land Rover is a proud supporter of grassroots rugby and a partner of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for nearly a decade. Land Rover’s ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign aims to champion grassroots rugby on the global stage during Rugby World Cup 2015. Follow @LandRoverRugby on Twitter #WeDealInReal