Stage Set For Schools’ Cup Double-Header

Players of the all-Edinburgh Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup double-header are making their final preparations for their crunch matches at Murrayfield this month.

Edinburgh Academy and Stewart’s Melville College make up both halves of the under-16 and under-18 Cup finals which last season attracted around 6000 supporters to Murrayfield stadium.

First up is the under-18 final on Saturday 5 March (kick-off 2pm).

Players of the all-Edinburgh Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup double-header are making their final preparations for their crunch matches at Murrayfield this month.

Edinburgh Academy and Stewart’s Melville College make up both halves of the under-16 and under-18 Cup finals which last season attracted around 6000 supporters to Murrayfield stadium.

First up is the under-18 final on Saturday 5 March (kick-off 2pm).

A repeat of last season’s final, current champions Edinburgh Academy will defend their crown against their familiar foes for whom the memory of last season’s final – snatched from their clutches by an injury time Academy drop-goal – remains fresh in their hearts and minds.

The match will be Edinburgh Academy captain Chris Dean’s third in the Schools’ Cup, running out in previous under-18 and under-15 cup winning sides.

However, despite his relative familiarity with the setting, Dean insists that the Academy won’t be taking the opportunity lightly.

He said: “The Schools’ Cup is such a big deal throughout your school year. You don’t get many chances to win at Murrayfield so you have to go for it. All the previous wins and winners are in the past, it’s all about now so we’re going to go on to the field and put in the best performance we can.

“You have to be confident coming into a cup final as it’s the two best teams in the competition coming together, so it’ll be good to take that confidence on to the field.”

Opposing under-18 captain, Stewart’s Melville College flanker, Ross McPhail, also played in last season’s final, though the outcome was less fortunate for the young open-side.

He said: “There’s a wee bit of extra motivation this season but it’s a quite a different team this year so it presents a different challenge.

“We’ve got quite a big, quick team and some very big backs so hopefully they’ll be effective. We also have quite an aggressive forward pack who played well in the semi-final, so hopefully well be able to do that again on Saturday.

“It’s great to play on the main pitch. All you dream about is playing at Murrayfield. It’s a massive part of the Schools’ Cup experience, though it would be nice win this year.”

The double-header will be completed on Sunday 20 March (kick-off 2pm) when the under-16 sides take to the field.

Originally scheduled to precede the under-18 final on the Murrayfield back-pitches (to safeguard the condition of the international pitch during the RBS 6 Nations window) the under-16 final was moved inside the home of Scottish Rugby to cater for the expected swell in attendance due to the double-headed nature of the fixture.

Stew-Mel’s under-16 captain, Alexander Clayton, who also felt the agony of a final loss last season, is delighted to get another shot at the silverware on the international pitch.

He said: “We’re really looking forward to it as you would expect.

“We’ve got a good all round squad, our backs play very well in open play and we all know our game plan and work together.

“We’re very happy it’s on the international pitch because we can really get a big crowd in the stadium for the final.”

Marc Wilkinson of Brewin Dolphin, said: “On behalf of everyone at Brewin Dolphin, I would like to wish the finalists the very best of luck.

"This year’s competition has seen a number of tough games, some played in adverse weather conditions and to have made it to the final is a great achievement.

“Last year we had close to 6000 people at Murrayfield and we hope to have the same if not more people in attendance this year. As the U18 and U16 Finals are taking place at the weekend, we hope friends and families can make it along to show their support for the school finalists.”

Stewart’s Melville College under-18 team: Murray Black; Adam Greig, David St Clair, Jack Hannay, Leo Bargery; Alex Hagart, Charlie Taylor; Hugh Lindsay, Chris Halliday, Ross Mackintosh, Jonathan Morgan, Andrew St Clair, Max Campbell, Ross Mcphail CAPTAIN, Justin Duncan
Substitutes: Chris Gilfillan, Rory Warnock, Jamie Johnstone, Daniel Gibb-Morris, Isaac Miller, Andrew Masson, Sam Bergius

Edinburgh Academy under-18 team: Scott Heaney; Jamie Farndale, Chris Dean CAPTAIN, Matthew Zegleman, Freddie Smith, Alexander Muir, Alex Glashan, Josh Haining, Tom Normand, Dan Falkner, David Forbes, Angus Inwood, Chris Thomson, Jamie MacLean, Cameron Simpson
Substitutes: Angus Lutton, Chris Allan, Oli Cradock, Ronan Seydak, Jack Hardie, David November, Gus MacLean

CUP FINAL DATES
Saturday 5 March
– The Brewin Dolphin Under-18 Scottish Schools’ Cup Final, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Stewart's Melville College v Edinburgh Academy (kick-off 2pm)
Sunday 20 March – The Brewin Dolphin Under-16 Scottish Schools’ Cup Final, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Academy v Stewart’s Melville College (kick-off 2pm) Current Brewin Dolphin Schools' Cup champions

Brewin Dolphin under-18 Cup – Edinburgh Academy
Brewin Dolphin under-15 Cup – Hutchesons’ Grammar School
Brewin Dolphin under-18 Plate – Wellington School
Brewin Dolphin under-15 Plate – High School of Dundee
Brewin Dolphin under-18 Bowl – Aberdeen Grammar School
Brewin Dolphin under-15 Bowl – Earlston High School
* This season the under-15 competition became under-16 in line with the Scottish Rugby safety principles of “Are you ready to play rugby?”