Merchiston eye double triumph at Murrayfield

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The Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup finals at Murrayfield on Thursday will dominate youth rugby this week with Merchiston Castle School facing George Watson’s College in the under-18 final and Merchiston also featuring in the under-16 showpiece against Strathallan.

Before then there will be a key match in the under-18 Plate today when North Berwick High School and Galashiels Academy play in the East Lothian and Borders final for a place in the last eight of the national competition and a tie against Linlithgow Academy. The game will not now go ahead at North Berwick High School’s pitch, having been switched to the town’s club ground.

North Berwick will be slight favourites to win because they play together regularly as a team and enjoy a strong fixture list against many of the independent schools. In contrast , Galashiels Academy play few matches as a school side, their senior pupils gaining their rugby experience through Gala Wanderers in the Borders semi-junior league.

Galashsiels, who beat Earlston High School 44-18 to reach the regional final, are strengthened by the return from a hand injury of their influential No 8 Josh

Already through to the national under-18 Plate semi-final are Marr College, who beat Gordonstoun 11-8 with two penalty goals from Jordan Deary and a try from Lewis Anderson.

In the Tayside and Fife regional final of the under-18 Plate Madras College secured themselves a national quarter-final home draw against Millburn Academy after defeating their north-east Fife rivals Bell-Baxter High School in a match that went to wire with flanker Ally Taylor grabbing the winning try in the last play of the game – to add to tries by Sam Raeside and Andrew Hodge.

The remaining under-18 national quarter-finals will be between Boroughmuir/James Gillespie’s High Schools and
Kelvinside Academy.

In non-cup rugby, Edinburgh Academy enjoyed a 22-12 win over Glenalmond College with tries from Tom Grey, Andrew McWilliam, Tom Salisbury
and Mack Millar with one
conversion from Alex Swan, while Stewart’s-Melville College bounced back from their cup semi final defeat to Watson’s with a 17-0 victory over Glasgow Academy at New Anniesland.

At Newfield, Loretto Dollar Academy 35-14, the Musselburgh school’s tries coming from Richard Taylor, Sean Mackle, Alex Costin and Cobus van Niekwerk while at Countesswells Dundee High School beat Robert Gordon’s College 30-0 with tries from Chris Jollands, Brewster White (2), Blair Cochrane and Jack Palladini.