Schools’ Rugby: Cup finallists fill Edinburgh/Borders ranks

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THREE of the George Watson’s College Brewin Dolphin Cup- winning side are named in the Edinburgh/Borders team to face Glasgow/Caledonia at Murrayfield tomorrow in what will be a key trial match ahead of final selection for the Scotland Under-18 squad.

Watson’s skipper Matt Poole partners his team-mate Neil Irvine-Hess in the second row, while back row Ally Miller is at openside flanker.

Watson’s opponents in the Cup final, Merchiston Castle School, also have three representatives in the Edinburgh team – full back Gavin Parker, centre Henry Slater and No 8 Magnus Bradbury, who is completing his second scholarship year at the Colinton campus.

Merchiston rested three Edinburgh representative players for their trip to Durham last Saturday to compete in their first sevens tournament of the season. They were also missing three players due to a cricket tour to Capetown. In the event, the Colinton boys did well to reach the semi-final, where they lost to hosts Durham School 12-7, after defeating Mount St Mary’s 24-7, Yarm School 47-10 and Gosforth Academy 19-17 on their way to the penultimate round.

Glasgow/Caledonia will be without their Strathallan/Howe of Fife stand-off, George Horne, the younger brother of the Glasgow Warriors’ centre, Peter Horne. The younger of the Howe of Fife brothers suffered what is believed to be a hairline fracture of his ankle two weeks ago but there are indications he could recover in time to play in at least one of Scotland’s Under-18 international matches.

Horne has been the outstanding stand-off in under-18 rugby this season and, in his absence, the No 10 jersey is likely to go to either Hawick Wanderers half back Matt Douglas, who is in the Newcastle Falcons Academy, or Ayr utility back Gavin Lowe.

Selectors will have a further chance to look at potential Scotland Under-18 squad members at Murrayfield on Sunday, when a Select XV of bench players from tomorrow night’s match and others not listed for tomorrow will take on Scottish Exiles.

Scotland Under-18s begin their international programme at Darlington on 3 March when they face England. Two weeks later they take on Ireland at Hamilton before three matches in the FIRA-AER tournament in France from 21-31 March.

Meanwhile, in what has become a protracted Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Under-18 Plate competition, Kelvinside Academy take on Marr College in the second of the semi-finals, the winner of which will meet Galashiels Academy in the final.