Fareham Heathens under-11s saw their hopes of playing at Twickenham dashed on Saturday.
But their experience in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, hosted by Harlequins, will make them better players.
That is the verdict of 10-year-old Oscar Jones, who was part of the Heathens squad strutting their stuff in front of Quins stars Dave Ward and Kyle Sinckler.
The Harrison Primary School student said: ‘The result went against us but we’ve definitely learnt things.’
More than 30 under-11 and under-12 teams took part in the tournament, one of various festivals being hosted around the country by the 12 Premiership clubs.
The Heathens talents displayed plenty of skill and endeavour in their fixtures, impressing Sinckler in particular.
The Harlequins, England and British & Irish Lions prop said: ‘Me and Dave came down to have a look at the talent and it’s been a great day out.
‘The main thing is enjoying it and you can see the kids are happy. It’s all about the sportsmanship of the game and playing it in the right way.
‘You saw them all doing three cheers for each other and everyone I spoke to, whether they lost three games or won three games’ had a good time.
‘It’s about coming out on a Saturday or Sunday and giving it your best. If you win, you win and if you lose, so be it.
‘If you gave it your all and had a good time – you’ve got to make memories with your friends.
‘Without the grassroots rugby there’s no elite level. If you speak to any guy in any professional team they all started at grassroots level.’
• Land Rover is celebrating its ‘Testimonial Season’ – 10 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