U18 finalists are relishing their day on the big stage

TWELVE months after losing last season's final to Stirling County, Currie Colts make a return to the international pitch at Murrayfield for the National Youth Under-18 Cup final against Dumfries next Monday.

Currie's team manager, Bob Ormiston, believes their 22-10 win over Aberdeen at Rubislaw in the semi-final has given his side optimism. "We've gained a lot of confidence from our win against Aberdeen but we know that we've got a lot of work to do this week.

"We should benefit from having 11 of last season's squad playing again in this year's final," said Ormiston.

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Currie's strength is in their front five with four players, hooker Fergus Scott, lock Calum Ormiston, and props Andy Philp and Denis Pech, having represented Edinburgh.

They are also strengthened by the return of scrum-half Joe Stachen, sidelined for the past 13 months with a cruciate ligament injury.

For Dumfries it will be their first under-18 final but their appearance in last year's under-16 final at Murrayfield will help prevent the players being awestruck by playing at SRU headquarters.

"Three quarters of last year's under-16 team who played in the final will be back this year for the under-18 final" said Dumfries club president, John Steele, whose son, Scott, is one of three Scotland under-17 squad members to have taken part in the recent tournament at Wellington College. The other two Scotland representatives in the Dumfries side are No8 Callum Templeton and centre Chris Auld.

Steele, who is well known as one of Scotland's top referees, reckons his side will have learned much from last year's experience at Murrayfield. "I think some of the players took stage fright last year but this a good group of players and they have improved.

"We've had two hard games against Haddington in the quarters and Boroughmuir in the semis to reach the final that were won by fine margins. The one disappointment was in the second round when West of Scotland refused to travel to Dumfries, handing us a bye " stated Steele.

On Wednesday three further finals will be settled, the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools under-18 Plate and Bowl both of which are being played on the back pitches at Murrayfield and the National Youth under-16 Bowl final at Stirling.

In the Plate final, Wellington School take on Linlithgow Academy Composite while in the Bowl Aberdeen Grammar School face Williamwood High School. The National Youth under-16 Bowl final is between Hamilton and Howe of Fife.