Scottish Schools Cup rugby: Merchiston Castle coach hails 'star-dust players' after another final triumph

Merchiston Castle have retained the Scottish Schools Under-18 Cup 19-7 victory over Edinburgh Academy at BT Murrayfield, while Stewart’s Melville College triumphed in the Under-16s final.

Callum Brown, Ben Riley and Lorne Wright scored first-half tries, two of them converted by player-of-the-match Isaac Coates, to give Merchiston a commanding 19-0 lead. Edinburgh Academy replacement Angus Larkin burst through for a try in the second half, converted by stand-off Will Hodgson, but the damage had already been done.

“We are absolutely delighted to win back-to-back titles,” said Merchiston Castle coach Roddie Deans. “The boys have worked incredibly hard for the last two years and they should be very happy to have played for a second time at Murrayfield and score some lovely tries.

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He added: “We were absolutely delighted to get a fast start and get ahead. We didn’t score any tries in the second half; we got a little bit stuck on the ball, but to be fair to Accies they defended very well and put us under pressure.

Merchiston Castle celebrate winning the U18 Schools Cup Final against Edinburgh Academy at BT Murrayfield. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS

“To win back-to-back titles is a very difficult thing to do. Over the past couple of years we’ve had a really good group of boys and some real star-dust players. Isaac Coates and Tom Currie are two players who will surely go on to play at a higher level and I thought Ben Riley was outstanding.”

Accies head coach Chris Martin said: “Merchiston are a very good side and I think they experience at this level was the real difference as our boys appeared to struggle with the occasion and found opportunities hard to take.”

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In the Under-16s Cup, Stewart’s Melville College triumphed 43-24 over Strathallan School, with a brace of tries scored by lock Oli Anderson. Fly-half Howie Offord was the outstanding for Stew-Mel, whose other tries were scored by Callum Jessop, Taylor Gray and Adam Munro.

In the other games, Howe of Fife/Bell-Baxter drew 14-14 with North Berwick in the U16s Shield Final, Loretto pipped Linlithgow 15-13 in the U16s Plate Final, and Berwick prevailed in the U16s Bowl Final.

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The U18s Shield Final was won St Aloysius College, the U18s Plate Final by George Heriots and the U18s Bowl Final by Morrisons Academy.