BRISTOL BEARS duo Luke Morahan and Bryan Byrne stressed the importance of grassroots rugby in their development, while attending the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup at BGS Sports Ground.

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.

Morahan, 31, said it was important that kids had the opportunity to play once again now restrictions have eased.

He said: “It’s always great to come down and see grassroots rugby. Looking here today there are 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 children not being able to run around with their teammates.

“It’s vitally important for their development and they haven’t had that sort of traditional team sport or been able to get out and run around with their mates, so to have that back in their lives is pretty important. It’s something they relish in. 

“I think I was about four when I started running around similar competitions like this in my local area. From a young age, it’s always about putting a jersey on, getting muddy and all that sort of stuff, tackling your mates, fundamentally the best parts of the game. They’re always fond memories of when you start.”

Byrne, 28, also revelled in his days playing club rugby as a child. He said: “I started about six. These are the tournaments that you remember and enjoy from an early age, playing with lads you’ve known since you’ve started walking. It’s great to see so many kids out here and to see the enjoyment of it.

“I’m delighted to be here today. I spent a bit of time with Joe Joyce when I came over here and he showed me the Bristol roots and all the different teams, and how much it means to the different areas here.

“It’s great to have everyone back and a lot of different teams from around Bristol playing here now.”

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