Stage set for National Youth finals

The pinnacle of youth club rugby will be reached for four teams on Sunday (16 February) at the National Youth League Finals at Hawthornden, Lasswade.

In the under-18 Cup final Ayr and Jed-Thistle meet, while in the under-16 final Ayr face defending champions, Currie.

The under-18 Bowl final consists of Hawick Wanderers and Dumfries, while West of Scotland await their opponents in the under-16 final. Boroughmuir and Selkirk Youth this week on the 3G pitch in the remaining under-16 Bowl semi-final.

Scottish Rugby’s head of clubs and schools, Nick Rennie, said: “There have been some very close ties in the rounds leading up to Sunday’s final, so we’re in for an exciting finish to these tournaments. 

We have some of the best young club teams in Scotland meeting, so we’re anticipating a great atmosphere and competition at Lasswade.

 “Congratulations to all the teams for getting this far and good luck on Sunday.”

Ayr who are in the Cup finals, at both age-groups, will be aiming to do the double following their success in the inaugural Youth Leagues at under-18 and under-16 level.

 Coach, Gordon Kotze, said: “The boys are extremely excited about this opportunity and can’t wait for Sunday to come.

“We are expecting a very tough match v Jed Thistle, who are unbeaten in the Border league. But, we are hoping we can continue the success we have already had in the league.”

Jed Thistle have won the under-18 Cup twice previously, in the 1984/85 and 1997/98 seasons, therefore Sunday’s final is a big chance to take the trophy back to Lothian Park. 

Coach, Callum Brown, said: “We have a big four weeks coming up, which will determine how good this team is. We’re in pole position in the Border League and our next game is against Melrose and we’re in the Youth Cup final v Ayr.

Melrose played Ayr in the semi-finals in a very close tie and what we have heard is that they are a very good team. However, we’re unbeaten this year and are on an exciting journey, so we believe Sunday’s final is achievable. 

“There are four guys coaching this team, including Kevin Armstrong who was in the side that won this trophy in the 80s and Gary Hill who played in the 97/98 season, so it means a lot to the club.”

Entry to Sunday’s event is free with gates opening at 12.30pm with the first match, the under-16 Bowl final, kicking-off at 1.30pm. 

National Youth League under-16 Bowl

Boroughmuir v Selkirk Youth (semi-final)

West of Scotland v TBC (final), kick-off 1.30pm 

National Youth League under-18 Bowl

Hawick Wanderers v Dumfries, kick-off 3pm

National Youth League under-16 Cup

Currie v Ayr, kick-off 3pm

National Youth League under-18 Cup

Ayr v Jed-Thistle, kick-off 4.45pm