Merchiston Castle Rugby Festival hailed as a ‘big success’ for Scottish schools and clubs

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Merchiston and George Watson’s College had teams involved, as did Peebles, Ayr and Boroughmuir rugby clubs as well as 11 English schools.

Shorter-than-usual matches were played over the two days and on Saturday Merchiston topped Group One after three wins from three.

Peebles finished third in this pool while, in a very solid group two, Ayr finished fourth.

Eventual overall winners Ipswich School topped group three while Boroughmuir put in excellent performances to go through the day unbeaten and top of group four.

Their three triumphs included a 19-0 victory over Watson, the latter finishing fourth in the section.

On Sunday there were more positive performances from Scottish sides, including Peebles beating Ayr 26-0 in the Bowl quarter-final, Boroughmuir reaching the Trophy semi-finals and Merchiston making the Trophy final.

In that final Merchiston, who had beaten Barnard Castle School and Mount St Mary’s College in the last eight and four, scored a try, but were beaten by Ipswich School 19-5.

National Rugby Under-18 Festival player Isaac Coates with Edinburgh Rugby’s Matt Currie and Dan Gamble.

Seaford College won the Plate, Bedford School Boys won the Bowl and Wycliffe College took the Shield south.

Merchiston’s opponent Isaac Coates was named Player of the Tournament and received his award from Edinburgh rugby players – and school alumni – Matt Currie and Dan Gamble.

“The weekend was a great success,” Deans said.

“It was our third year that we have staged the event and the quality of play at all levels was as high as we have seen. Congratulations to the English teams for coming as all of the Scottish school and club teams really benefited from it.

“It was great to see young Scottish talent take on English opponents and I think the weekend will have given a lot of teams some momentum for their next matches.”

Strathallan School were down south at the National Schools Rugby Festival at St Joseph’s College in Suffolk this weekend.

They won one and lost two as a group on Saturday and then, after a few close games earlier in the day, finished Sunday by beating Marlborough College 14-12 in the Shield third/fourth place clash.

It was a fantastic opportunity for our players to be part of such a big event and for them to step out of their comfort zone,” said their director of rugby Nick Hill.

“Each opposition provided us with different challenges as they played in different ways. We scored some great tries, the best being in our last game against Marlborough College when we needed a converted score to win with the clock in the red. Our centre/back Joe Townshend scored the final try and then converted it for the win.

The boy’s National One Schools Conference Inspiresport is currently on hiatus with a number of teams midway through, but last Tuesday Stewart’s Melville College managed to secure a bonus points victory over Fettes College.

Center Thomas Russell led the way with two tries while backline Freddy Douglas, Jamie Cain, backline Jake McGlynn and hooker Dan Smith also crossed. Cain kicked off the conversions in a 38-10 triumph.

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