HUNDREDS of young rugby players got the chance to show off their skills and love for the sport as the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup returned to Bristol Bears.

BGS Sports Grounds hosted an exciting Under-11 and Under-12 grassroots developmental festival on Sunday as youngsters finally got the opportunity to lace up their boots again, with a myriad of teams from the West Country and surrounding areas locking horns.

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.

Bears’ stars Luke Morahan and Bryan Byrne were among those in attendance, with 32 clubs across U11 and U12 competing in a celebration of the sport’s grassroots foundations.

There was also the prize of attending next year’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby season finale at Twickenham at stake, with the winning team from each age group decided by nominations based on their sportsmanship and dedication to rugby’s core values.

In the U11 category, it was North Bristol who were chosen and will head to southwest London next spring.

North Bristol star Wilf Rigby, 10, said: “I was very excited about today. I just like rugby and I think this has been a great opportunity for everyone to have some fun.”

Meanwhile, it was Gordano B that qualified in the U12 category. Gordano B star Noah Rylett, 11, said: “I was just excited about today as I got to play rugby. I love every single bit of it.

“I started playing in rugby tots when I was four or five. I want to be a player when I’m older.”

The event was a celebration of grassroots rugby and a return to playing post-restrictions with Bears star Morahan expressing the importance of such opportunities.

Morahan, 31, said: “It’s always great to come down and see grassroots rugby. Looking here today there’s 32 teams, more than 500 children playing and enjoying themselves in what is pretty good weather here for this time of year.

“It’s good to come down here and still see that there’s that enjoyment of the game after probably 12-18 months of kids not being able to run around with their teammates and play this sort of stuff. It’s good to get back out here and see their enjoyment.

“I think I was about four when I started running around similar competitions like this in my local area. They are some of the best memories you have.”

Land Rover has been supporting grassroots rugby in the UK for nearly two decades, through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. Follow the latest Land Rover rugby activity on Twitter @LandRoverRugby #DiscoverRugby