This year marks 25 years of the Prima Tiger Cup, the largest single-aged event of its kind for junior rugby teams. Welcoming more than 70 under-10’s teams each season, the lucky few are invited to play at Leicester’s Welford Road ground.
Prima Solutions, alongside members of Tigers’ community teams has been involved from the start and is proud of the event’s success. Prima’s founders, John Norman and the late Steve Brown were big Tigers fans and huge advocates of rugby’s values. The Tigers community team caught up with John to find out how he and his team got involved.
Q: How did the Prima Tiger Cup come about?
A: “We first got involved through working with the then-chief executive Peter Wheeler delivering the Prima Tiger Cup for young Tigers fans, supporting coaching in schools and match day activities. Peter and Eric Barker, who was the Leicestershire minis and junior chair, approached us about a new under-10’s event and we went from there.”
Q: What is your rugby background?
A: “I’m from London and wasn’t really interested in rugby until I moved to South Wales when I was in my 20’s. I realised that if you couldn’t talk rugby there was little point in going to the pub, so I picked up the sport. I moved to Leicester in 1984 and have followed Tigers ever since. That was also when I first met Steve Brown, who went on to become my best mate and business partner with Prima Solutions. Steve was a Yorkshire lad who was rugby to the core. Whilst it was important that we built a successful business, it was also important to get involved with the local community. Sadly, Steve passed away in 2009 but he loved the Prima Tiger Cup as much as I do and he is still as much a part of it as I am.”
Q: What are your fondest memories over 25 years?
A: “I remember from the early days when teams would play at Welford Road, kids would be presented with medals on the pitch at half-time by a Tigers player- often one of their heroes. They would then run around the pitch parading their trophies. Teams also ran out to the ‘Smoke on the Water’ riff and that was such a great touch.”
Q: How have Prima engaged with the event?
A: We’ve never looked to benefit from it – it’s only ever been about the kids. Steve and I went to the festivals in the early years and I still love going to the games now at Welford Road. When the Prima Tiger Cup started, there were about a dozen teams. The Tigers community team have helped grow it across the country, with teams from all over taking part. We owe a big thanks to the people who do most of the work, often unnoticed and unmentioned, to make the Prima Tiger Cup the success it is. Eric Barker has given up his time for the last 25 years to help manage and support it and, without him and the coaches, and the people who referee, the event just couldn’t happen.”
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