Schools rugby: North Berwick High and Marr College toast success at U-16 and U-18 level

Two schools who have strong connections to their local clubs – North Berwick High School and Marr College – had great weeks last week with their under-16 and under-18 teams progressing in boy’s knock-out competitions.

The Marr College Under-18 squad.
The Marr College Under-18 squad.

In East Lothian, the North Berwick under-16s were on fine form to defeat The High School of Glasgow 42-19 in a quarter-final tie and the under-18s are also into the last four of their own Shield event after edging past Robert Gordon’s College 17-14.

In the Scottish Schools Cup at under-16 level, Marr College defeated Merchiston Castle 25-10 to progress to the last four and their under-18s are into the semi-finals of the Scottish Schools Plate after edging out Linlithgow Academy 14-13.

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Ken Muir is the head of the North Berwick school of rugby and he said: “We had both teams playing at the same time on the same day up at the local club’s Recreation Park ground and it was an excellent day. The under-16s just got better and better as their match went on and in the second half they did not concede any points at all.

North Berwick High School's under-16s and 18s squads
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“In the other game, the under-18s were pushed really hard, but I think the fact that they have grown up playing together for the school and the club really helped them to get over the line against strong opponents.

“Both of the sides went into these games having topped their tables in the [Inspiresport East Schools] Conference with the under-16s having won six from six and the under-18s doing the same, so there is good cohesion in the squads.

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“Iain Macintosh coaches the under-16s as well as the North Berwick club first XV and he really allows the young boys to express themselves.

“Dave Sibbald is a very experienced coach and he has been working with the under-18 squad since they were in senior one, so that continuity definitely helps.

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“We are just a small town really, but we have fine tradition of producing players - male and female - who have gone on to play for Scotland at various levels and we are proud of that.”

Colin Sturgeon, the Marr club first XV player who heads up rugby at Marr College, said: “It was a very positive week for the school last week.

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“The under-16s went into their match high in confidence having won five games from five to top their [National Two West] Conference and it showed in the way they played.

“Over the last few months that squad has also really benefitted from working under former Scotland cap Gordon Reid who has been coaching them. He brings a lot of fun to their training sessions, but also a lot of detail and the players are responding to that really well. He is helped out by three assistant coaches.

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“The under-18s won their first National Two West Conference match against The Glasgow Academy before losing the next three and seeing one game not played.

“In their quarter-final they really had to battle hard and they did enough to progress.”

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“They are coached by Gordon McMillan and he is a vastly experienced coach who coached me when I was first heading into senior rugby.

“Hopefully we will see some of these bots playing for Marr in the future.”

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This coming weekend semi-finals at both age-grades are set to take place.