Schools Rugby: Loretto and Hutchesons’ looking forward to Scottish Schools Cup

Loretto School and Hutchesons’ Grammar School have had fine rugby seasons to date at under-18 level and they are now looking forward to the Scottish Schools Cup.

Loretto School's under-18s have been in great form of late
Loretto School's under-18s have been in great form of late

In the Inspiresport boy’s National Two (East) Conference, Loretto from Musselburgh won all four of their matches and earned a spot in the Cup quarter-final draw as a result.

And Hutchesons’ from Glasgow are also in that draw after they finished in top spot in the Inspiresport boy’s National Two (West) Conference.

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Loretto won the Scottish Schools Shield at under-18 level last year and school leavers in the summer such as Finn Duraj, Archie Lang, Harry Bone and others are already playing regularly at a good level of senior rugby.

And the Shield triumph obviously gave the team members still at school in 2022/23 confidence because they have built on that.

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Wins in the Conference came over the High School of Dundee (12-50), George Heriot’s School (43-8), Glenalmond College (50-14) and, most recently, Robert Gordon’s College (57-3) between September and earlier this month.

Loretto coach Andrew Binikos – who has James Hastie as skipper and co-vice captains in the shape of Henry Thomas and Joss Arnold – said: “I am really happy with how the squad has come together over the last couple of months.

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“The players always work very hard at training and that has paid off in the games. When the team has got on top in matches they have really kept their foot on the gas and played with a lot of intent.

“We are a small school in terms of numbers compared to some of the others that we come up against, but the players have a very good team spirit.”

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Binikos, the former Currie Chieftains player who now coaches Cyprus too, is assisted by Andy Barnett in coaching the Loretto under-18s and the former said: “It will be a step up for us taking on teams from the National One Conference in the Cup, but the boys are looking forward to the challenge.”

Hutchesons’ results in the Conference saw them edge past Kelvinside Academy 20-17, beat The High School of Glasgow 45-14, battle past St Aloysius’ College 10-0 away from home and see off The Glasgow Academy 45-7.

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The match against Marr College was cancelled.

A number of the players who have been involved in the last couple of months toured South Africa in the summer and that gave them a big boost heading into this campaign.

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“The tour certainly helped in a rugby sense and also in a team bonding sense and the players were feeling pretty good before the Conference matches,” coach Craig Sorbie, who works with the squad alongside Eric Milligan and Brendan McGroarty, said.

“We had a couple of wins by comfortable score lines, but the games that impressed me most were the ones where the players really had to problem solve on the pitch, take ownership of the situation and get past tough opponents on the day.

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“The Kelvinside game was close, but perhaps the best performance was one against a strong St Aloysius’ side 10-0.

“The boys have been brilliantly led by captain Robbie Baird from scrum-half, he has a good rugby brain and he and the other senior players set the standard for the group.

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“We are looking forward to being in the Cup.”