Youth League Cup Finals PREVIEW | Fresh faces and old heads contest finals

This Sunday’s Youth League Cup Finals (Sunday 25 March, kick-offs 1pm and 3pm) welcomes teams old and new as clubs from the east and west meet at BT Murrayfield.

Cartha Queen’s Park will be looking to win their first ever U16 final against Boroughmuir and Stirling County and Ayr will cut familiar figures in their meeting on the international pitch in the U18 competition.

U18 | Stirling County Colts v Ayr

Defending champions Stirling County are looking to make it three in a row when they take on last year’s runners-up, Ayr, for a third time in the National Youth League Cup final.

Both sides ran out comfortable winners at home in the semi-finals with County overcoming Boroughmuir, 28-10, and their west coast challengers beating Highland, 35-7.

Ayr are under no allusions as to the challenge they face from a familiar opposition.

Stuart Fenwick, Coach of Ayr U18, said: “Stirling are a fantastic side who have dominated U18 club rugby for the last few years. We expect a physical contest and level of intensity that will not have been seen yet this season.

“We have to be ready to match that and set the bar higher again if we wish to be successful on Sunday.

“We won’t be changing things too much, all the hard work has been done by this stage, it’s just about fine tuning and doing the basics well.

We will focus on what we can influence and not worrying too much about what we can’t control.”

In spite of their successes over the past couple of seasons the, importance of a final on the international pitch hasn’t worn off for Stirling County.

Matt McGradles, Coach of Stirling County Colts, said: “I believe the focus for any youth player is to play at BT Murrayfield so when the challenge is set that offers the ultimate rugby playing experience, we now expect Stirling County U18 to step it up and challenge for this great honour.

“Ayr are a quality team and we have the utmost respect for the club, the coaches and the players.

It’s now three years on the trot we meet our friends in the final and we look forward to the typical battle on the field we have come to expect.”

U16 | Boroughmuir v Cartha Queen’s Park

Sunday’s first final will see Boroughmuir take on Cartha Queen’s Park on the international pitch.

Both teams came through home ties in the previous round to book their places in the final but will face an altogether different challenge at the home of Scottish Rugby.

Boroughmuir beat Earlston High School Melrose Wasps, 38-24, in the semi-finals to book their place in the showpiece while Cartha’s path to the final was a little less comfortable in seeing off Dunfermline with just an eight-point margin.

The Edinburgh team will be looking to surpass their season’s target of reaching the final when they step out onto the international pitch.

Alan MacGregor, Coach of Boroughmuir U16, said: “All the players are looking forward to running out the tunnel on to the international pitch at BT Murrayfield on Sunday to play Cartha Queen’s Park in what is a massive event for the Club and the new Boroughmuir Youth Academy.

We know that any team that reaches the final must be taken seriously and we fully expect Cartha to come out and show us why they're the Mitsubishi Motors Galant Conference U16 winners.”

However, we are ready for the challenge and will look to keep the pressure on Cartha on Sunday."

This year marks Cartha’s first appearance in the U16 final and they know they will have to be at their best against quality opposition.

John McCartney, Coach of Cartha Queen’s Park U16, said: “Boroughmuir will be a quality side and will be the toughest opposition we have faced to date. Undefeated and racking up a huge amount of points in their league campaign, I am expecting a well drilled, powerful, organised team with pace when they attack.

“We need to focus on what we do best, our strengths and how we play, because that what’s got us here to the Finals. If we can implement on Sunday what we work hard on at training, I’m sure it will be a cracking U16 Final for everyone at the game.

Let’s face it there is nowhere more exciting for the boys to perform than at the home of Scottish Rugby. For the boys it’s just a dream come true to be able to put their talents on show on the international pitch and emulate their heroes that they watch and support at every international match.”

National Youth League Cup Finals - Sunday 25 March

U18 Final– BT Murrayfield, kick-off 3pm

Stirling County Colts v Ayr

U16 Final – BT Murrayfield, kick-off 1pm

Boroughmuir v Cartha Queen’s Park