Edinburgh Rugby under 18s overcame Glasgow Warriors 15-5 at Murrayfield last night, in full view of Scotland National under 18 head coach Eddie Pollock who was in attendance to select his side for a forthcoming international against England.
In the first age-grade clash between the two sides, Edinburgh’s side was made up of players from the Borders and the Capital while Glasgow Warriors side featured the best players from Glasgow and Caledonia.
The weather played a big part in determining the outcome of the match with both sides unable to fully utilise their backline such was the force of wind and rain which came at them. Nevertheless, both sets of players persevered to produce some quality rugby in the conditions.
Edinburgh, who went full steam into the wind in the first half were unlucky not to get a try after a battle ensued inside the Glasgow 5m line.
Magnus Bradbury, the Edinburgh number 8 of Oban Lorne RFC, was constantly driving through contact to give his side a basis in attack with flankers Ally Miller and Scott Burnside following him in support. The final killer touch was missing to take the lead though and Glasgow were able to kick the ball long down field to turn defence into attack.
Glasgow had the first opportunity to put points on the board, but stand-off Gavin Lowe’s penalty attempt drifted wide of the posts from just inside the Edinburgh half.
The visiting side found a breakthrough with ten minutes remaining in the first half. The Warriors did well to recycle the ball in the Edinburgh ’22 before the ball was shipped wide and with a threadbare Edinburgh defence in his sights Alasdair Mackie, the number 8 drove clear in the corner for an unconverted try.
The try count for the visitors could have been more going into the short half-time break but Edinburgh did well defensively to keep themselves in it. Tireless work from Andrew McWilliam of Currie RFC and Ross Graham of Hawick PSA kept the visitors lead short. Graham who had been a bright performer in the first half for Edinburgh left the field at half time with an injury and was replaced by Rory Simpson.
With the wind behind them, Edinburgh went into the second half in confident mood and didn’t take long to take the lead after the restart.
Scott Burnside showed great vision and determination above his years to break from the back of a ruck and notice a gap in the Warriors defence to stride through for a try, converted by Matthew Douglas.
Edinburgh were now in control of the match as they looked to add to their lead.
A kick superbly executed kick from midfield by Richard Taylor of Melrose took Edinburgh from their own half to the Glasgow 5m line as they mounted the pressure on the visitors.
From a driving maul off a lineout, Edinburgh got their second try of the match and Burnside was again the scorer. He did well to keep the ball at the back of the maul before crossing the line for an unconverted try.
Finlay Simpson, on as a substitute from Hawick PSA showed excellent strength to rip the ball out the hands of a Glasgow attacker as they attempted to force themselves into the match. Simpson did well to regain possession before playing a pass out wide to put his side on the attack.
Edinburgh completed the scoring with a penalty from substitute Alex Swan of Edinburgh Academy.
National coach Eddie Pollock gave his assessment after the match:
“It was really hard fought match, it was really encouraging. It was physical encounter with a huge amount of effort from both teams and it was admirable the way they tried to play rugby in the tough conditions.
“The big thing for us was that the guys are going into a huge physical contest over the next few weeks and that’s we hoped to see tonight and we certainly got that. It’s a steep learning curve for the guys over the next few weeks with England coming up, they will be very physical. It was a good starting point for us.”
Match report by Scott Thomson
Edinburgh Rugby U18: Backs: Gavin Parker (Merchiston Castle School/Biggar RFC); Ian Sim (Duns RFC); Richard Taylor (Lorreto School/Melrose RFC); Henry Slater (Merchiston Castle School); Rory Watt (Edinburgh Academicals); Matthew Douglas (Gosforth HS/Hawick Wanderers); Duncan Swanson (Edinburgh Academy)
Forwards: Reece Paterson (North Berwick HS); Ross Graham (Hawick HS/Hawick PSA); Andrew McWilliam (Edinburgh Academy/Currie RFC); Matthew Poole (George Watson’s College); Neil Irvine-Hess (George Watson’s College); Scott Burnside (North Berwick HS); Ally Miller (George Watson’s College); Magnus Bradbury (Merchiston Castle School/Oban Lorne RFC)
Substitutes: Rory Simpson (Edinburgh Academy), Chris Baikie (Dunbar Grammar School/Dunbar), Gary Robertson (Galashiels Academy/Gala Wanderers), Lewis Carmichael (North Berwick High School), Finlay Simpson (Hawick High School/Hawick PSA), Struan Hutchison (Longridge Towers/Melrose), Scott Halliday (Peebles High School/Peebles), Alex Swan (Edinburgh Academy).
Glasgow Warriors U18: Backs: Blair Cochrane (Dundee HS); Callum Hay (Aberdeen Grammar RFC); Archie Russell (Stirling County RFC); Connor Simpkins (Dunfermline RFC); Angus Rennie (Strathallan School/Deeside RFC); Gavin Lowe (Ayr RFC); Luke Earle-Wright (RGC/Deeside RFC)
Forwards: Cameron Fenton (Strathallan School/Howe of Fife RFC); Grant Stuart (Dalziel RFC); Alexander Fagerson (Strathallan School/Howe of Fife RFC); James Ritchie (Strathallan School);Ewan Bulger (Marr College/Ayr RFC);Ruaridh Knott (Loretto School/Highland RFC);Chris Jollands (Dundee HS);Alasdair Mackie (Dollar Academy/Stirling County RFC).
Substitutes: Craig Goldie (Dumfries RFC); Stuart Govan (Stirling County RFC); Angus Wallace (Deeside RFC); Angus Leishman (Stirling County RFC); Ben Johnston (Marr College/Ayr RFC); Calum Willison (Howe of Fife RFC); Paul Ramsey (Kilmarnock RFC).