Schools Cup: Try-count superiority puts Academy in final

Edinburgh Academy are in the final of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Under-18 Cup after they drew 19-19 with Merchiston, going through on their superior try count.

In an absorbing semi-final, played on the 4G pitch at Murrayfield, Merchiston came from behind to draw level with a penalty kick but were outscored three tries to one. Academy will meet the winners of tonight's match at Myreside between George Watson's College and Stewart's-Melville College in the final on 5 March.

Merchiston coach, James Boyd, said: "They've improved since we beat them earlier this season. Today they played with good pace and intensity."

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Academy deserved to win the tie. Their back play was more subtle, their defence was sound and their pack, although outweighted, stood up to the Merchiston eight. And, in winger Jamie Farndale, scrum-half Alex Glashan and No 8 Cameron Simpson, Academy had key players. "I'm immensely proud of this team. To overturn an 18-0 defeat and then to play all the rugby today was an achievement. I'm delighted for this group, who beat a very good and older Merchiston side," said Academy coach Mark Appleson.

Despite tries from Freddie Smith and Farndale and one conversion from stand-off Alex Muir, Academy trailed Merchiston 12-13 at the break, all of the Merchiston points coming from their Scotland Under-18 squad stand-off Sam Hidalgo-Clyne with two penalty goals, a try and conversion. He increased his side's lead with a third penalty, but Academy hit back with a Tom Normand try, converted by Muir, before Hidalgo-Clyne levelled with a fourth penalty.

Scorers: Edinburgh Academy - Tries: Smith, Farndale, Normand. Cons: Muir (2). Merchiston - Tries: Hidalgo-Clyne. Con: Hidalgo-Clyne. Pens Hidalgo-Clyne (4).

Edinburgh Academy: S Heaney; J Farndale, C Dean, M Zegelman, F Smith; A Muir, A Glashan; C Allan, T Normand, D Falkner, D Forbes, A Inwood, C Thomson, J McLean, C Simpson. Subs used: J Pardoe

Merchiston: A Webb; B Milne, F Schneider-Gogan, J Nutton, C Millee; S Hidalgo-Clyne, S Steele; N Wright, B Jardine, T Pasquali, A Morris, J Jones, A Paterson, A White, P Baker (capt). Subs used: J Fisher, J Barton.

Referee: M Gray (Edinburgh Society)

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