The semi-final draw has been determined for the National Youth League Cup and Bowl competitions, following an intense weekend (18 and 19 January) of quality rugby across the country.
For the first time in four years there will be a new winner of the under-18 Cup as Stirling County, the defending champions for the past three years, are out of the competition after being pipped at home by Biggar, 18-17.
Undefeated champions of the Edinburgh and Lothians under-18 Division 1, Biggar, will meet the inaugural winners of the Scottish Rugby under-18 League, Ayr, in the first of the National Youth League Cup semi-finals. Whoever progresses from that tie will go through to play the winner of the other semi-final between Boroughmuir and Jed Thistle.
Gavin Hill, Biggar under-18 assistant coach, said: “After making the quarter-finals of the Cup for the last two years running, yet not being able to make the cut for the semi’s, we’re delighted to break the mould and progress to the last four of the competition.
“Stirling are a quality side, and to beat them on their home-patch gives us a huge boost of confidence and belief going in to the next round of the Cup.
“It was Ayr who put us out of last year’s competition at Hartree Mill, narrowly beating us 17-14 in the quarter-finals. We’ve not forgotten that heartache and hope that we can turn the tables, securing the win and that desirable spot in the final that the boys so desperately want.
“We’ve got a great squad at Biggar, the boys have a lot of heart and a fantastic hunger for success as a group. Despite the small numbers in our squad, the team have a great bond both on and off the pitch, all wanting to play and win for each other.”
There will also be a new winner in the senior Bowl, with last year’s winners, Hamilton, not even progressing to the quarter-final stages of the competition. Hawick Wanderers will host Whitecraigs in the first of the semi-finals as Musselburgh travel to the south-west taking on Dumfries in the other.
In the junior competition, Ayr, like their senior counterparts are also present in the Cup semi-finals. The Millbrae side will face capital team, Royal High Corstorphine in a home semi-final.
The other semi-final in the under-16 Cup will be between current holders, Currie and Stirling County. Both teams in this tie competed in the Scottish Rugby under-16 League, with only one league place separating the sides, Currie finishing in second and Stirling County in third.
Last year’s under-16 Cup finalists, Hawick Albion, and fellow Border side Selkirk Youth Club, have bagged themselves semi-final spots in the junior Bowl competition, playing West of Scotland and Boroughmuir, respectively.
Under-18 National Youth League Cup semi-finals
Biggar v Ayr, Saturday 1 February
Boroughmuir v Jed Thistle, Saturday 1 February
Under-18 National Youth League Bowl semi-finals
Hawick Wanderers v Whitecraigs, Saturday 1 February
Dumfries v Musselburgh, Saturday 1 February
Under-16 National Youth League Cup semi-finals
Ayr v RHC, Sunday 2 February
Currie v Stirling County, Sunday 2 February
Under-16 National Youth League Bowl semi-finals
West of Scotland v Hawick Albion, Sunday 26 January
Boroughmuir v Selkirk Youth, Sunday 2 February