Merchiston Castle ran in five tries against George Heriot's to secure their place in the last four of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools under-18 Cup yesterday.
In a match switched from Colinton Road to the 4G pitch at Murrayfield due to frost, the 2008 winners of the tournament were too strong for their Edinburgh rivals. The victory was led by Scotland under-18 squad members Scott Steele and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne. The half-backs scored 23 points between them and generally gave their outside backs good ball to work with.
Scrum-half Steele scored one of his side's tries, while the others came from winger Josh Barton, hooker Blair Jardine, prop Tiziano Pasquali and back-row Angus White. Hidalgo-Clyne knocked over five conversions and a penalty.
For George Heriot's, the points came through a try by Matt Arnold, a penalty from Grant Mollison and a conversion from Jack Polson.
After booking their place in the semi-finals with George Watson's College, Merchiston Castle coach James Boyd said: "I was pleased with the performance given that we haven't played much rugby in the last couple of months and the boys scored some good tries. It is great that we are back on cup duties and that the boys have this to focus on over the next few weeks. They know they will be have to sharper if they are to contemplate winning a semi-final or a final, though, and we will be working hard in training next week."
His opposite number Matthew Mallinson said: "I can not fault the effort of the squad, but when you don't take your chances against quality opposition, then you can be punished and that is what happened to us." Stewart's Melville College are due to take on Dollar and Edinburgh Academy are set to play North Berwick in the remaining two quarter-finals today.
Scorers: Merchiston Castle - Tries: Steele, Barton, Jardine, Pasquali, White. Pen: Hidalgo-Clyne. Cons: Hidalgo-Clyne 5. George Heriot's - Try: Arnold. Pen: Mollison. Con: Polson.
Merchiston Castle: A Webb; B Milne, F Schneider-Gogan, J Nutton, J Barton; S. Hidalgo-Clyne, S Steele; N Wright, B Jardine, T Pasquali, J Fisher, J Jones, A Paterson, P Baker, A White. Subs: A Kerr, R Dickson, A Morris, T Bonfield, D Scott, C Millee, M Flett.
George Heriot's: G Mollison; T Tukalo, M Arnold, J Rae, M Firoozi; J Polson, E Hooper; R Sheddon, R Alexander, S Burns, J Lyle, B Stenhouse, D Ellen, W Reeves, E McGonigal. Subs: R Phillips, M Adams, D Valente, B Kilpatrick, J Paterson, A Patmore.