'Real leader' Tom Currie fires Merchiston into schools final and set up date with Edinburgh Academy

Merchiston Castle School coach Roddy Deans hailed Tom Currie as “a real leader” after his hat-trick of tries at the semi-final stage helped his side through to the Scottish Schools under-18 boy’s Cup final at BT Murrayfield next Wednesday.

Hat-trick try scorer Tom Currie, on the ball, helped Merchiston Castle defeat Strathallan on Saturday
Hat-trick try scorer Tom Currie, on the ball, helped Merchiston Castle defeat Strathallan on Saturday

In that final Merchiston will meet capital rivals Edinburgh Academy in what should be a good contest. On Saturday, Merchiston were on the road to Strathallan School in their last four tie and the three tries by Currie, the younger brother of Edinburgh Rugby’s Matt, along with two conversions by Isaac Coates got them home 19-14.

“Strathallan is never any easy place to go, we were leading 19-0 and then they came alive,” Deans said. “We had to dig deep and we are proud of the boys for weathering the storm. This was a real squad effort, however, we must credit Tom Currie for his strong performance, he’s a real leader for us and it’s great to see him hitting some form after a long injury lay off.”

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Archie Rankin and Carlos Aija scored tries for Strathallan while Joe Townshend converted them both. “Our boys’ effort and commitment to keep going to the very end has been a great trait of this team throughout this season,” Strathallan coach Nick Hill said. “The players should be proud of their performance and were a credit to our school by never giving in. We were pipped to the post by a very good Merchiston team.”

Like Merchiston, Edinburgh Academy raced into a decent sized lead at Inverleith against Stewart’s Melville College on Saturday in their semi before being pegged back and having to hold on. Tries from Toby Edwin (2), Angus Larkin and Thomas Whyte – along with two conversions by the latter and one from Munro Lawrie – put Edinburgh Academy 26-0 up. Hamish Limb, Cammy Ross and Dan Smith then sparked the home side’s fightback along with two conversions by Jamie Cain, but it was just not to be.

“What a game of rugby in front of a full stand at Inverleith,” Edinburgh Academy coach Chris Martin said. “A seven try semi-final is how it should be and full credit must go to both sets of players for throwing everything at it. We came out and played the best half of rugby we’ve had this season, really embracing the occasion. After losing Will Hodgson to injury, I thought the players were incredibly resilient in the second half under huge pressure from an excellent Stewart’s Melville side. I’m incredibly proud of how the boys managed the game.”

Hayden Lingard, the Stewart’s Melville coach, said: “Conceding 26 unanswered points in the first half left us with too much work to do. We clawed our way back into the match and had a chance to draw the game on the final whistle, but, ultimately, we were too inaccurate when it mattered.”

There was better news for Stewart’s Melville in the under-16 Cup as they made it through to their final at the national stadium by winning 21-10 at Dollar Academy in the last four on Saturday. Strathallan will be their opponents after a late try and conversion helped them win away at Marr College 20-18 on Tuesday afternoon in the second semi.

On finals day in seven days time, Shield, Plate and Bowl finals will also take place at both age groups at Murrayfield and the DAM Health Stadium.