Schools rugby: Galashiels and Madras set for spicy semi-final

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Galashiels Academy are hoping that their twice-postponed Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools under-18 Plate semi-final match against Madras College will go ahead today to end a frustrating wait for both sides.

The Borders school will be slight favourites to win this game not just because of home advantage but because the bulk of their side have been involved in tough matches in the Borders semi-junior league in the colours of Gala Wanderers.

Madras College, however, have recently enjoyed a renaissance of rugby, although the sport has now bowed to the inevitable time constraints on teaching staff, resulting in the running of the game in the St Andrews school being in partnership with Madras Rugby.

Madras will field some of the side that won last season’s under-16 Bowl final at Murrayfield with a 29-12 win over Hawick High School. Their outstanding player that day, Jon Price, who was included in the Scotland under-16 squad last season, returns for today’s encounter. Price will be playing opposite another talented stand-off, Ruari Howarth, who is eligible for Scotland under-17 selection.

The other under-18 Plate semi-final between Kelvinside Academy and Marr College at Balgray has been rearranged for this Saturday following the postponement of the fixture last weekend. Marr, however, maintained their match fitness ahead of their semi-final by arranging a last-minute game with St Aloysius College that resulted in a 32-10 win for the Troon school.

In the under-16 Bowl competition, Buckhaven High School reached the final for the first time after defeating McLaren High School 13-7 last week. Both Buckhaven tries were scored out wide by wingers Willie Murray and Dailon Fernandez.

At under-18 level, the delayed semi-final between Peebles High School and Williamwood High School will not now go ahead until early March. “Both schools are involved in prelim exams. It’s a difficult time of year in school,” said Steve Bastock, the Williamwood under-18 coach.

In non-Brewin Dolphin rugby, Edinburgh Academy achieved a 36-10 win over Glasgow Academy. The game was a useful warm-up for Edinburgh Academy, who this weekend take on Stewart’s-Melville College, 31-10 winners over George Heriot’s School at Inverleith last Saturday. Also in action last Saturday were Brewin Dolphin Cup winners, George Watson’s College who finished winners by 51-0 against Glasgow High School.

All of Merchiston’s games last Saturday were cancelled but this Saturday the Colinton School host Royal Grammar School from Newcastle in a Scotland v England clash.