Derby matches take centre stage at Scottish Schools’ Cup Finals
BT Murrayfield will welcome the best teams from Scottish schools tomorrow for the Scottish Schools’ Cup finals.
The national stadium will play host to sixteen teams from across the country who will compete in the four tiers of the U18 and U16 competitions - Cup, Shield, Plate and Bowl.
U18 Cup final
Glenalmond College play Strathallan School in a Perthshire derby in the U18 Cup final.
Strathallan ran out worthy winners, 21-3, over George Watson’s College in the last round and their squad boasts a number of players with experience on the Scottish rugby’s biggest stage.
Strathallan Director of Rugby, Andrew Henderson, said: “Most of the team have played at BT Murrayfield as they were finalists in the U16 Final against George Watsons which ended as a draw. These players are clearly motivated to make the result different this time round.
“Playing at BT Murrayfield is always a fabulous experience and one that really makes the event very special to any young Scottish Rugby player.
This means a massive amount to the team as it confirms how hard they have worked at becoming a team and continually trying to improve as players.”
Glenalmond needed nerves of steel to squeeze past Fettes, 6-3, in their semi-final and will be hoping that the ability to close out tight games will see them through at BT Murrayfield.
Head of Rugby at Glenalmond College, Graham Smith, said: “Making the final is a huge event for the school. We are a small school with less than 400 pupils, so our focus in our sporting programmes is hugely about development and engagement.
The senior group of players and coaches have concentrated solely on the job in hand and taking things one game at a time, however reaching the final and playing on the International Pitch is a huge honour.”
The teams have already played this season, with Strathallan coming out on top, and the teams are relishing the chance to take each other on once more.
Henderson said: “We know our opposition well and played them during the season.
“We are aware of their strengths and weaknesses which has been taken into consideration during our preparations however it has been more about what we can do that has been the team focus.”
U16 Cup final
In the junior competition, Stewart’s Melville face George Watson’s in an Edinburgh derby.
Both sides fought their way through all Edinburgh semi-finals to book their place at BT Murrayfield and will be eager to put in a big performance on the international pitch.
Stewart’s Melville, who beat Edinburgh Academy in the previous round, will be looking to follow up on the cup success of their U18 side last year.
Head of Rugby at Stewart’s Melville, Stuart Edwards, said: “The boys have worked very hard with their coaches Hayden Lingard and Neil Graham so this is just reward for that hard work.
"As a school, it is great for these boys to be role models to our younger pupils who will see the incentives of working hard and most importantly enjoying their rugby.”
The opportunity to meet an old rival in such an important match has not distracted the team from their task.
Edwards added: “We know each other very well, as you can imagine but we can only focus on ourselves.
We want to play at speed and be exciting to watch. We want to be ambitious and work very hard to ensure we attack and enjoy our brand of rugby.”
Watson’s beat rivals, George Heriot’s School, in the penultimate round and are aiming to enjoy their rugby
Head Coach of George Watson’s College U16, Richard Snedden, said: “Playing at BT Murrayfield is a real honour for the boys and they, as well as the whole Watson's community, are very excited about the occasion.
The team has worked hard all season showing real improvement in skill and understanding, we have been trying to keep things pretty much the same in the lead up to this game.
“We just hope the team can go out and really enjoy the occasion, make the most of it and put in a performance they are capable of on the night.”
Scottish Schools finals – BT Murrayfield – Wednesday 6 December
Glenalmond College v Strathallan School
Hutchesons' Grammar School v Kelvinside Academy
Lomond & Helensburgh v Marr College
Linlithgow Academy v Ross High School
Stewart’s Melville v George Watson’s College
Earlston High School v Marr College
Royal High School v Hawick High School
Oban High School v Auchinleck Academy