Stewart’s Melville cap off day of Scottish Schools Finals action

Scottish schools rugby action

Stewart’s Melville U18s capped off a day of Scottish Schools Finals action by lifting the Scottish Schools Cup after a 24-14 victory over George Watson’s College at BT Murrayfield.

U18 Scottish Schools Cup

Stewart’s Melville lifted the U18s Scottish Schools Cup for the fifth time at BT Murrayfield this evening as they beat Edinburgh rivals George Watson’s College 24-14. 

Tries from back-row Lachlan McGregor, hooker Duncan Hood, centre Matt Russell, and tighthead prop Kaysan Davidson saw the side over the line against George Watson’s, who could only manage two scores provided by centre Euan Maguire and loosehead Conor Myles.

Stewart’s Melville Head Coach Stuart Edwards was pleased with the result but thought his side made things hard for themselves.

“We made it hard for ourselves, we really did,” he said. “The first half was outstanding and half-time we spoke really clearly about exiting and getting out of our half, and in the second half, we did everything we didn’t need to do.”

The Heriot’s Super6 stand-off went on to heap praise on the players though, saying: “In terms of attitude, desire, I couldn’t be any more proud of these boys. They’re the best set of kids I’ve ever worked with.

“We’ve got a motto not to be outworked, and they’ve got a collective desire to be the best. They’re phenomenal kids and it makes our job easy because they drive everything.”

George Watson’s Director of Rugby Ally Donaldson, on the other hand, was despondent after the game, ruing his side’s missed chances.

“We knew what they were going to throw at us and we didn’t handle it particularly well at the start,” he explained. “They put on a great show tonight and we were probably just behind them, but we had opportunities to put pressure on them with the scoreboard that we just missed and that made a difference to the momentum of the game. 

“They were a very good team today.”

Donaldson went on to praise his opposition’s defence, which didn’t concede a penalty until the 55th minute.

“Stewart’s Melville’s defence and discipline was outstanding,” the Director of Rugby added. “We had a few chances and they kept us out which is testament to that. We knew what they were going to do and they did it exceptionally well.”

U16 Scottish Schools Cup

Merchiston Castle School bested Dollar Academy to the tune of 5-41 in the U16s bracket of the Scottish Schools Cup at BT Murrayfield this afternoon.

After a slow start, Merchiston found another gear and scored a total of seven tries to finish the game as comfortable victors, making it the Colinton-based school’s second win on Scottish Schools Finals day with their U18s having downed George Heriot’s 10-26 in the U18 Shield Final earlier in the day.

Speaking after the game, Merchiston’s Director of Rugby Roddy Deans said: “We’re really happy. It was a wee bit edgy. Both teams were nervous, you could see that in the first half. 

“We were lucky that we scored right before half-time, but we came out and scored very quickly in the second-half which buried the game a little bit.

“I’m really proud of those boys,” he continued. “They’ve worked really hard all year, they’re very well coached by Stephen Douglas and Ben Hall and they’ve really come on tactically as a young side so it’s nice to see them finish off in style like that tonight.”

U16s Coach Niall Gallagher also praised the performance of the Merchiston side before suggesting that it was simple mistakes which cost his side. 

“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Merchiston. They did a fantastic job on us tonight,” the Coach said. “We had a game plan where we wanted to run about the park and be first to everything but they had the upper hand in every area of the game. 

“The only time we managed to hold onto the ball we managed to score, and we were looking to build on that but Merchiston either got in about us early on or we made basic errors that proved costly. All credit to them, they took their chances well.”

Gallagher went on to explain that, although his side were “absolutely gutted”, they were looking to the future already.

“They know they probably could have played better tonight and they feel disappointed in how we performed but they’re looking ahead already,” he added. 

“They’re sensible and switched on so they’re looking ahead to the U18 Cup final in a couple of years and fingers crossed, they can keep progressing and use this as a learning experience moving forward.”

For our full review of Scottish Schools Finals day, be sure to subscribe to SCRUM Magazine to receive a copy of Issue 120 in the New Year.

Full list of results:

U16 Bowl: Morrison’s Academy 17-41 Hawick High School

U16 Shield: Hutcheson’s Grammar School 49-0 Dunbar Grammar School

U16 Plate: Queen Victoria School 44-0 The Royal High School

U16 Cup: Dollar Academy 5-41 Merchiston Castle School

U18 Bowl: Hawick High/Jed Grammar 17-13 Hutcheson’s Grammar School

U18 Shield: George Heriot’s School 10-26 Merchiston Castle School

U18 Plate: Gordonstoun School 5-26 Earlston High School

U18 Cup: Stewart’s Melville College 24-14 George Watson’s College

Image caption: Stewart’s Melville stand-off Christian Townsend cuts inside George Watson’s prop Conor Myles. Credit: Fotosport/David Gibson

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