​Schools & Youth season | The story so far…

​Schools & Youth season | The story so far…

Boys update

Since August this year, Scottish Rugby has been facilitating six Schools Conferences and four Club Conferences for boys at U13, U14, U15, U16 and U18 levels.

In the Schools competition, the Conferences included: Caledonia A, East A, East B, East C, West A and West B.

In the club youth competition, the Conferences included: National, Caledonia, West and Borders Town.

Outcomes from the above Conferences determine progression to the National Schools and Youth Cup and Shield competitions, which are set to take place between January and March 2022.

This season a U16 and U18 Cup and Shield competition will take place across both the schools and club youth game. The competitions follow a knockout format first playing in a quarter-final, with winners progressing to a semi-final and final respectively.

U18 Qualifiers

The Clubs and Schools who topped their Conference league tables and made it to the Cup and Shield quarter-finalists in the U18 competition were:

Schools Cup Qualifiers: Glenalmond College, High School of Dundee, Stewart’s Melville College, Merchiston Castle School, Dollar Academy, George Watson’s College, Hutchesons’ Grammar School and St Aloysius’ College.

Schools Shield Qualifiers: Morrison’s Academy, Queen Victoria School, Loretto School, Lasswade High School, Preston Lodge High School, Knox/Haddington, St Columba’s School and Strathdendrick/Balfron High School.

Youth Cup Qualifiers: West of Scotland, Boroughmuir, Stirling County, Biggar, Hawick Youth, Kelso Harlequins, Ellon and Livingston.

Youth Shield Qualifiers: Gala Wanderers, Earlston High School/ Melrose Wasps, Deeside/Garioch, Aberdeen Wanderers, Moray/Huntly, Dumfries Saints, Whitecraigs, Dunfermline.

U18 Quarter-final results

In the U18 Schools Cup, Stewart’s Melville College, Merchiston Castle School, Dollar Academy and George Watson’s College progressed to the Semi-final round.

In the U18 Schools Shield, Queen Victoria School, Loretto School, Preston Lodge High School and Morrison’s Academy progressed to the Semi-final round.

In the U18 Youth Cup, Boroughmuir, Stirling County, Hawick and West of Scotland all progressed to the Semi-final round.

Beating Ellon 50-0 in the quarter-final, Boroughmuir enjoyed a clean-sweep of wins during their Conferences pool earlier in the season.

Boroughmuir U18 Head Coach Scott Anderson said: “A lot of the boys in the current U18 squad were involved in U16 team that qualified for the U16 National Cup in 2020. That competition was unfortunately cancelled due to the Covid outbreak, so they will be determined to try and get to Murrayfield again.

“The semi-final will certainly be a tough game against Stirling County, and we are looking forward to that. Despite previous results between us, we know that we will need to be very well prepared and playing at our very best against them, if we are to progress to the Final. And we expect Stirling County to be no different in their preparation for this game too.”

In the U18 Youth Shield, Gala Wanderers, Earlston High School/ Melrose Wasps, Whitecraigs and Dumfries Saints all progressed to the Semi-final round.

Speaking to Scottishrugby.org, Gala Development Officer Craig Dods said: “Gala Wanderers have made good progress in the National Youth Shield this year. The boys were dominant in their quater-final but know it will be a tougher game when Dumfries travel to Netherdale next weekend. They've put the hard work in and now they're ready for the last challenge in the road to the final.”

Gala Wanderers met Dunfermline in the U18 Shield quarter-final, hosting them at Netherdale on Saturday 15 January 2022.

U16 Qualifiers

On January 29 and 30, the qualifying teams from the U16 Youth and Schools conferences will enter the quarter-final stages in the Cup and Shield.

In the School Cup, The High School of Glasgow will host Dollar Academy and Stewart's Melville College will take on High School of Dundee. The other quarter-final fixtures will be between Robert Gordon’s College and George Watson's College, plus Merchiston Castle School will play against St Aloysius’ College.

In the School Shield competition, only two of the four quarter-finals have been confirmed.

First up, Loretto School will host Howe of Fife/Bell Baxter, whilst Queen Victoria School will take on Linlithgow Academy.

Opposition teams for quarter-finalists Strathdendrick and Balfron High School and St Columba’s will be confirmed after the final fixture of the East Conference C has been played on Saturday 22 January between Musselburgh and North Berwick.

Over in the Youth Cup competition, Boroughmuir will host Dumfries Saints and Gala Red Triangle will take on Stirling County. Across in Glasgow, GHA will host the Aberdeenshire based side from Ellon and Peebles will face a combination team between Ayr and Wellington.

In the Youth Shield competition, Whitecraigs will play against a combined Deeside and Garioch and Dundee will take on Dunfermline. Down in the Borders, Kelso will welcome Aberdeen Wanderers to Poynder Park and Hawick Youth will face Cartha Queen’s Park.

Girls update

In the Girls’ game, between August and December this year, Scottish Rugby have hosted 12 Girls’ Series Events and more than 80 Regional Fixture Events to provide players from U12 to U18 with a varied, player-centred, development driven game time experience, and more than 1,600 players have taken part across the two programmes.

Following the success of these programmes, Scottish Rugby will expand its provision for the Girls game in the second half of the season by introducing three levels of Girls competition: U18 Cup, U16 Cup, U16 Bowl.

Each Cup and Shield competition has been tailored and aligned to Scottish Rugby Girls’ Age-grade Law Variations (AGLVs) with specific player-number laws included to offer the players with increased opportunities to expand their experiences of the game and adapt to larger format fixtures.

The competitions kick-started across 15 and 16 January.

The following clubs are participating in the U18 Cup:

Caithness, Cartha Queen’s Park, Dundee Rugby, East Kilbride, Fife/Kelpies Girls, Ayrshire Girls, Biggar, Dumfries & Galloway Girls, Edinburgh Harlequins and Stirling County.

The following clubs are participating in the U16 Cup:

Caithness, Cartha Queen’s Park, Whitecraigs, Garioch, Fife Girls, Tayside Girls, Biggar, Dumfries Saints, Kelpies Rugby, East Lothian Girls, Stirling County and West of Scotland

And finally, in the U16 Bowl the following clubs are participating:

Highland, Moray, Orkney, Ross Sutherland, Shetland, Cambuslang, Lenzie, Oban Lorne, Berwick/Duns, Boroughmuir/Livingston, Gala/Kelso, Leith/Murrayfield Wanderers, Annan, Ayr, Greenock and Wigtownshire

The Girls competitions kicked off on 16 January, with the opening round of play seeing lots of fantastic rugby on show.

In the U18 Cup, Stirling County beat Biggar 50-0, whilst Edinburgh Harlequins secured a 10-31 win over Dumfries & Galloway.

In the U16 Cup, Round 1 of play saw wins for Tayside, Fife, Stirling County and the East Lothian Girls over Caithness, Cartha QP, Dumfries Saints and Kelpies respectively.

Girls' Series events have taken place all over the country this season involving over 1,600 players.

A regional programme will also be delivered for U12 and U14 players. This programme will see bespoke game play opportunities created and delivered to suit local needs whilst remaining aligned to national development principles.

Discussing the season so far for the Youth and Schools game, Gav Scott, Director Rugby Development said: “Whilst we remain cautious because of the nature of coronavirus, the progress which has been made across the Youth and Schools game so far has been really exciting, and I am looking forward to watching the second half of the season unfold.

“Youth and Schools rugby is integral to increasing player numbers at all levels. The programmes we run focus on encouraging more children, from across Scotland, to take up rugby and continue to play through their teenage years and beyond.

“Being able to provide these young players with National Cup and Shield competitions allows us to further promote the development of leadership, enjoyment, achievement, engagement and respect.

“I’m especially pleased to see the creation of our Girls competition formats for the second half of the season. Colleagues across Rugby Development have collaborated well with the clubs who deliver Girls’ rugby to create a format which is player centred, development driven and competition supported whilst supporting the varying numbers of players across the country.

“I would like to once again give thanks to coaches, volunteers, teachers, parents and guardians across our sport for continuing to provide a safe and positive environment for our young players to enjoy their competition and game play opportunities.”

Saltire Energy Caledonia Cup

We are also delighted to confirm the return of the Caledonia Cup this weekend (January 22) after a hiatus during the 2020/21 season due to Covid-19.

This year’s competition is sponsored and supported by Saltire Energy, which joined Scottish Rugby as a partner on a three-year deal in July 2021.

The Saltire Energy Caledonia Cup competition celebrates Girls and Boys rugby across Scottish Rugby’s Caledonia Region (Caledonia North and Caledonia Midlands), providing the young players with enhanced development opportunities in an environment which is both inclusive by catering to all skill and age levels, whilst offering a competitive element.

The format follows a progressive structure, leading teams to compete at an inclusive Finals Day (1 May 2022) based on levels of skill and development for each participating team.

In the Boys’ competition, clubs will participate at U18, U16 and U15 levels, whilst the Girls’ competition will see clubs participate at U18 and U16 levels.

For this year’s competitions, 27 clubs have entered including: Aberdeen Wanderers, Alloa, Angus, Caithness, Carnoustie, Deeside, Dundee, Dunfermline, Ellon, Garioch, Glenrothes, Gordonstoun School, Highland, Howe of Fife, Huntly, Kelpies, Kirkcaldy, Livingston, Mackie, Montrose & District, Moray, Orkney, Perthshire, Ross Sutherland, Shetland, Stirling County and Strathmore.

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