The fairy-tale continued for Keswick Rugby Club’s Ned Barnes after he joined Premiership Rugby’s biggest names at a star-studded season launch at Twickenham last week. Barnes, 11, who attends Keswick School, rubbed shoulders with the likes of England trio Ben Youngs, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley as the world’s media descended on Twickenham.

The youngster was invited to England HQ by Land Rover to mark its Testimonial Season which celebrates ten-years supporting grassroots rugby in the UK through their sponsorship of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.

Last season Barnes was hand-picked at a Newcastle Falcons-run tournament, where he was selected as the competition’s MVP and was rewarded by appearing at Twickenham back in May for the Premiership Final. As a promising young rugby player, Barnes enjoyed the chance to spend some time with Falcons’ star Toby Flood who returns this season, picking up some vital tips from the former England fly half.

Barnes’ appearance at the season launch last week was further reward for his outstanding attitude at last season’s competition, where he supported his team throughout despite suffering an injury.

“I wasn’t playing because I broke my finger, but I turned up at the tournament even though I couldn’t play and the coach picked me as MVP,” said Barnes.

“Whenever someone else in our team has been injured they’ve come and supported as well, so I thought I should too.

“I was selected to go on the pitch for the draw then I won for the Keswick team to come to Twickenham for the final.

“It was brilliant walking around the pitch at the final, just the atmosphere, all the cheering and shouting and everything, and ending up on TV was probably one of the best bits.

“I wasn’t really nervous and all my family came to watch, it was just amazing.”

The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is a series of national grassroots rugby festivals for U11 and U12 rugby teams.

Run in conjunction with all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, the regional rugby events are an essential part of the UK rugby calendar. To date, nearly 70,000 youngsters have participated in the tournament since its inception.

Land Rover ambassador and former England rugby captain, Lewis Moody, commented: “Over the years, I have had the chance to meet many of the youngsters to have taken part in the Land Rover Premiership Cup and have seen first-hand the importance of these grassroots rugby festivals,” said Moody.

“The rugby skills, values, teamwork and sheer enjoyment the young rugby players take away are invaluable to the good health of the sport.”

Land Rover is celebrating its ‘Testimonial Season’; ten years of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. The national series of grassroots rugby festivals is testament to Land Rover’s continued support of grassroots rugby through its ‘We Deal in Real’ campaign. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal