Having trained in their regions for the last eight-to-ten weeks, squads representing Edinburgh, Glasgow and West, Borders and East Lothian and Caledonia were at the DAM Health Stadium and the back pitches at BT Murrayfield a few days ago to put into practice things they have been working on with their coaches.
Matches were played over 40 minutes and, in the first round of fixtures, Glasgow and West were 10-5 winners against Edinburgh. Oliver McKenna (St Aloysius’ College) and Euan Doak (Ayr RFC) were the try scorers for the victors whilst Finlay McWilliam of George Heriot’s School scored Edinburgh’s try. The other first round fixture saw Caledonia come out on top against Borders and East Lothian after a 10-7 win. Dundee Rugby’s Ollie Stoops and Joseph Roberts (Robert Gordon’s College) scored tries for Caledonia and Gregor Hoggan (Preston Lodge RFC) scored a try for Borders and East Lothian which was converted by Ben Burton (Kelso Quins).
In the second round of games, Edinburgh won 24-14 against Caledonia. Boroughmuir RFC’s Ollie Blyth-Lafferty, Rory Brogan (Fettes College) and Blyth-Lafferty’s club mate Caleb Thomson (2) scored Edinburgh’s tries with Hamish MacArthur (Merchiston Castle School) converting two of them. For Caledonia, Emmett Bunney (Robert Gordon’s College) and Matthew Fryer of the High School of Dundee scored tries and both were converted by Angus Crockett from Dollar Academy.
The other second round fixture saw Glasgow and West pick up a second win, this time beating Borders and East Lothian 31-10. High School of Glasgow’s Harry Provan led the way with two tries while Biggar RFC’s Connor Murray, Aiden Orr (Kelvinside Academy) and Campbell Waugh (Hutchesons’ Grammar) got the tries for the victors. Three of them were converted by Gregor Munn (Kelvinside Academy). Peebles Colts’ Oliver Furness and Jason Talac (Musselburgh RFC) dotted down for Borders and East Lothian.
As mentioned, Glasgow and West won their two games and their head coach Millan Browne said: “It is always pleasing to get wins, but that is not really what this day was all about. After bringing players from a number of different schools and clubs together at training over the last few weeks, myself and the other coaches wanted to see the boys go out there on the pitch and express themselves and show people what they are capable of when they move up to under-18 level and beyond. They really defended very well against Edinburgh and then, in the second game against Borderers and East Lothian, they were able to show what they can do in attack and some of the tries were crackers.”
And Edinburgh head coach Andy Gallacher said: “It was excellent to see the boys coming together and putting into practice things we have been working at of late in game situations. They could not quite break through a strong Glasgow and West defence for a second time in game one, but they worked very well together in the second match and that was really pleasing to see.”
All four of these under-17 squads are set to return to training in their regions now in the lead up to Christmas.