During Half Term, the Merchiston Castle School U15 rugby squad travelled south to Norwich to compete with the best rugby playing schools in England at the annual Langley School U15 Rugby Festival.
A gruelling rugby tournament played over two days against leading English opposition; Captain Rudi and his squad travelled south under no illusions of the enormity of the task that lay ahead of them if they wished to create history and become the first ever Scottish team to win this coveted prize.
Facing Abingdon School in their opening fixture, Merchiston hit the ground running and playing some typically fast paced rugby, they finished the game as worthy 47-0 winners with tries from number 8 Rudi, middle row Monty, centre Alex and wingers Amaan and Arran.
With their spirits high, Merchiston faced a strong Dulwich College side in their next game which proved to be an extremely challenging encounter. In a bruising affair between two highly competitive teams, Merchiston’s resolute defence proved too strong with the Scottish side earning a hard fought 22-5 victory with tries from talented back rower Tom, Amaan, Alex and Arran, ending Phase one of the tournament as Group one leaders.
Having won both of their group games, Merchiston were placed into the Cup Group alongside Bedford School and tournament hosts Langley School in Phase two of the competition. Bloodied and bruised, the squad were forced to recover quickly for their opening fixture against a very competitive Bedford side. In what proved to be another physical encounter, Merchiston managed to lift their game to a new level and ran out as eventual 38-7 victors with tries from Alex (2), Rudi, fullback Drew (2) and centre Freddie, to set up a cup final against tournament hosts Langley School.
With only a very short period of time to recover after their heroics against Bedford, the Merchiston squad knew they were in for a monumental challenge if they were to create history and overturn a very strong Langley side in the final to bring back silverware to Scotland for the first time in the competition’s six year history.
As expected, the final was played at a frantic pace in front of a vocal home crowd with both sides threatening each other’s defences equally. However, again it was Merchiston’s defence which proved impenetrable with the team going into halftime with a narrow 10-0 lead with tries from Arran and Drew.
With everything still to play for in the second half, Langley redoubled their efforts only to find themselves outmuscled and outplayed by a Merchiston side that appears to grow stronger and stronger with every game. With further tries by Rudi, Drew and Monty, Merchiston Castle School ended the game as deserved 34-0 winners and Langley School U15 Rugby Festival Championships for the first time in Merchiston’s history.
Stephen Douglas, U15 Coach, comments: “We are extremely proud of what the boys have achieved this weekend. They travelled to Langley with a goal of adding to the proud legacy of rugby at Merchiston and through their own hard work and dedication, they have achieved that goal.”