Watson’s eye up another Under-18 Cup semi-final

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Title holders George Watson’s College are just one round away from achieving what seems a perennial slot in the semi-final of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish School under-18 Cup and will book their place in the last four if they can overcome Glasgow High School at Old Anniesland in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Watson’s were given a rigorous work-out ahead of the quarter-final when they took on Palmerston North Boys Grammar School last Friday in a match that resulted in a 41-12 win for the touring side from North Island, New Zealand.

“This was a high quality match. The score was 29-12 with five minutes left, but they had two late scores when we ran out of steam,” said Ally Donaldson, Watson’s director of rugby, whose side had tries by Robbie Nairn and Fraser McMillan and a conversion by Callum Young.

The following day, Palmerston North played their development side against George Heriot’s School at Goldenacre and achieved a further victory, winning by 23-11. “Considering their size and strength levels, we had to be pleased with our performance,” said Heriot’s coach Ewan Harrison, adding: “We put in a big defensive effort and showed an immense amount of heart.” Outside centre Ben Porteous scored Heriot’s try, their other points coming from two penalty goals by stand-off Finn Murphy.

Heriot’s opponents in the cup quarter-finals will be the winners of today’s first-round tie at Musselburgh between Loretto and Dollar Academy, who go into this game on the back of a 28-11 home defeat by Dundee High School, but having shown good qualities against a strong Mayfield side this season.

Dundee High, who cruised into the last eight with a 74-0 win over Trinity Academy at Mayfield, are away to Edinburgh Academy in the cup quarter finals. Edinburgh Academy, who play Stewart’s-Melville this weekend, reached the quarters with a 25-14 win over Glasgow Academy last Saturday with a brace of tries by Finn MacPherson and one apiece by Blair Kinghorn and Michael Fleming.

Strathallan against Merchiston looks the most appetising of the under-18 Cup quarter finals. The former had a work-out against Madras College last Saturday while Merchiston had cup action last Thursday when they comfortably knocked out St Aloysius College at Millerston.

Merchiston’s second XV last week played Galashiels Academy in a tight match won narrowly by the Colinton school and gave valuable experience to the young Borderers ahead of their regional plate competition.