More than 300 aspiring rugby players were welcomed to Cardiff Arms Park for the BT Community Rugby Festival on Saturday.
Ahead of the United Rugby Championship derby with Ospreys, clubs from both regions were welcomed onto the famous Arms Park pitch to play at the home of their rugby heroes.
Under-7 and Under-8 sides from 13 different clubs were in attendance, facing off in a series of matches throughout the day and celebrating the very best of grassroots rugby.
The day was proudly supported by headline sponsors, BT, who are partners of all four professional clubs in Wales and supplied each player with a participation medal - presented by Cardiff Rugby first team stars Josh Adams, Aled Summerhill, Efan Daniel and Scott Andrews.
BT’s Head of Regions, Nick Speed, said: “We really enjoyed taking part in the tournament on Saturday and seeing kids get really enthusiastic about playing and taking part in the Community Festival.
“We’ve all waited a long time to be able to enjoy these grassroots festivals once again, and it was clear from the looks on the kids’ faces just how important these events are to the community.
“After a long day of competing on the pitch, it was amazing to see their enjoyment at the end when they all received a medal from Josh Adams and the other squad members in attendance.
“It’s fantastic and that’s the inspiration that will keep these kids going, and they could also enjoy seeing their heroes play later in the afternoon.
“BT is proud to be a sponsor of all four of the Welsh professional clubs. We also ran a simultaneous event up at Rodney Parade with Dragons, with clubs from all four regions taking part.
“It’s really important for us to support community rugby because we recognise the impact it has on the community in general. It creates team spirit and brings people together.
“We’re looking forward to more special days like this in the future and for BT to continue its support of rugby at all levels in Wales.”
Cardiff hooker, Daniel, added: “It’s great to see so many kids out there playing rugby on the Arms Park pitch and seeing the youth coming through. Hopefully in the years to come, they’ll be playing for Cardiff themselves so it was nice to see them here and having fun.
“The memories you get from these experiences is really special. When you’re younger, you come to watch Cardiff and dream of playing for them.
“So it’s brilliant to play at Cardiff Arms Park and have that chance to score a try in the same spot you’ve seen heroes like Josh Adams or Aled Summerhill scoring. It’s great to be a part of the club like that.
“There was a fantastic atmosphere there all day.
“I had a couple of opportunity where we’d come down from the top of the Valleys to play on this pitch, and that only made me excited to think about potentially playing here as a senior squad member. And sometimes dreams become a reality.
“To have a sponsor like BT showing their support for rugby at all levels in Wales - from grassroots to professional - is encouraging for everyone, from the clubs to the fans and society in general. It’s fantastic to see.”
The Cardiff Rugby Community Foundation team supported the on-field rugby operations on the day, ensuring a tight scheduled and officiating for all matches.
Cardiff Rugby’s Rhys Blumberg, who also attended, added: “Our partnership with BT has thrived for a number of years, and being able to use that partnership to bring the Arms Park alive with the next generation of rugby players is inspiring.
“We want to thank BT for their support of Cardiff Rugby as well as the wider community. They make a huge difference and that was clear to see on Saturday.
“It was fantastic to see children enjoying their rugby and being given an opportunity to play at the home of Cardiff Rugby.
“A huge credit also goes to the Community Foundation, who supported the day from an operational point-of-view, as well as to those who took part. As a club it gives us a great deal of pride to work with the grassroots game throughout the region and offer opportunities for everyone to get involved.”
BT Community Rugby Festival participating teams: Pontyclun, Barry, Whitchurch, Gilfach Goch, Old Illtydians, Pentyrch, CRICC, Heol y Cyw, Baglan, Gorseinon, Porthcawl, St Alban’s, Fairwater