St Aloysius College struck a blow for west coast rugby by winning the Scottish Schools under-16 Cup on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield last night with a powerful performance that combined physical attacking and equally physical defence.
But St Aloysius also had several silky runners, the best of them being full-back Nick McAllister, who was voted man of the match by Edinburgh players Tom Brown and Anton Bresler.
Their coach Eric Urquhart admitted his side, nervous at first, delivered on the night. “We’d never beaten Strathallan before in a competitive game,” he said.
Strathallan, too, produced skilful attacking moves, on the back of some excellent set-piece work, notably in the lineout. But their runners were unable to break down one of the best schoolboy defences seen at this level.
It was Strathallan who started the stronger, producing flowing rugby that looked certain to breach the St Aloysius defence. But the Glasgow school’s tackling proved rigid, denying Strathallan an early try in the corner.
Then when St Aloysius finally rid themselves of Murrayfield nerves they struck effectively, an initial lineout providing the launchpad for second row Luke McCutcheon to crash over for the opening score converted by centre Tom Lonergan.
Strathallan had a chance to reply but a spilled pass close to the St Aloysius line ruined the Perthshire school’s hopes of achieving first-half parity.
A penalty apiece just after the break by Adam Scott, pictured left, for St Aloysius and Angus Vipond for Strathallan kept the points gap at seven.
Strathallan engineered another scoring chance with a quick tap penalty by stand-off Rory Boyne but the St Aloysius scramble defence prevented a solo try and secured the win.