National Youth Cup Finals 2022/23 | Preview

National Youth Cup Finals 2022/23 | Preview

The top youth club sides in the country will compete at BT Murrayfield and DAM Health Stadium this Saturday (25 March) for their respective National Youth trophies.

The event had previously been scheduled for December 2022 but was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

The action kicks off at 11am, with the last fixture set to commence at 6pm meaning it is a full day of youth rugby in the heart of the capital, which will no doubt be a very special for the competing teams.

With no less than 16 competitors taking part across eight games, Scottish Rugby looks ahead to the event with a preview.

A digital match day guide with teams will be available on Saturday.

Girls U18 Cup: Edinburgh Harlequins v Stirling County – 11am BT Murrayfield Stadium Bowl

Stirling County will be looking to retain their Cup title on Saturday as they take on Edinburgh Harlequins. A strong season for both sides, will County keep their title, or will Harlequins take the top spot?

Looking ahead to the game, Ruby Dellal, Captain of Edinburgh Harlequins said: “I am really proud of the team. We have played very well this season and I truly believe we all have bright futures in rugby. We have been preparing for this final for a long time. I will be so proud of the team whether we win or lose, and I am very happy to have captained this team.”

Johnny MacColl, Head Coach of Stirling County U18 Girls has equally been as pleased for his said, saying: “The County girls are really looking forward to playing this fixture and getting the chance of a full field game at BT Murrayfield which should be a fantastic experience for them. We are expecting another tough encounter against Edinburgh Harlequins after playing them a few times earlier in the season.”

Boys U18 Shield: Earlston HS & Melrose v Ayr & Wellington – 11am, BT Murrayfield Pitch 2

Earlston High School and Melrose Wasps have linked up to take on the amalgamation of Ayr and Wellington in the Boys U18 Shield. With the strong forces united, it’ll be a big game for both teams.

Jeremy Brett, Head Coach of Melrose Wasps said: “We are really looking forward to another occasion at BT Murrayfield. Melrose and Ayr have produced some great rugby over the years at youth and senior level and so we are excited about being involved in what we hope is a cracking game.

“It’s been a long time coming since the original postponement, but everyone is really excited to sign off the 15-a-side season in a match that will mean so much to both sets of players.”

Callum Hamilton, Captain of Ayr U18s said: “As a squad we’ve been looking forward to the finals event and the match. We’ve been working hard over the season, and we are excited about the prospect of playing Melrose in a match that replicates the Super6 final from a couple of years ago.”

Girls U18 Shield: Tayside v Biggar – 1pm, BT Murrayfield Pitch 2

Tayside Girls will be looking to continue on from last year’s success in the U16 Shield with a win in the U18 Shield, but to do so they have to overcome tough opposition from Biggar.

Graham Binnie, Head Coach of Tayside Girls said: “Our players are looking forward to a chance to visit and play in a national final and we continue to welcome these opportunities for girls’ rugby to be showcased at the same event as the boys.”

Cerys Forrest, Captain of Biggar U18 Girls credits the bond and commitment her squad has for reaching the final, saying: “I love playing and bonding with this fierce strong independent group of young women. There is nothing better than going to Hartreemill on a freezing wet night to train hard until the lights are turned off. Saturday’s final will see us make memories that will last a lifetime.”

Boys U16 Cup: GHA v Ellon – 1pm, BT Murrayfield Stadium

It’s West versus North as GHA and Ellon compete for the Boys U16 Cup on the International pitch at BT Murrayfield.

Shane McElhinney, Head Coach of GHA U16 Boys said: “The majority of the squad have been playing rugby together at GHA from the early years of mini rugby and getting to the final of the National Youth Cup is a testament to all the hard work, commitment, and dedication every member of the entire squad has and continues to put in.

“The boys have trained well and can’t wait for the opportunity to play on the main pitch at BT Murrayfield, something many of them have dreamt of.”

Scott Johnston, Head Coach of Ellon U16 Boys said: “The U16 squad have worked hard all season and put in some great performances. They are all looking forward to playing at BT Murrayfield against our toughest opposition yet. As Head Coach all I can ask is they enjoy themselves and give 100 percent effort. This will be a great occasion for the team and Ellon Rugby Club.”

Girls U16 Cup: Stirling County v Biggar – 3.30pm, BT Murrayfield Stadium

Stirling County and Biggar will once again be represented, this time as the U16 Girls battle it out for the Cup title on the International pitch at BT Murrayfield.

Looking ahead to the competition, Joey Crozier, Head Coach of Stirling County U16 Girls said: “The girls are massively excited about representing themselves, their families, and the rest of the squad in the cup final at BT Murrayfield. They have all worked really hard to develop both as individuals but more importantly as a squad and cannot wait to show their skills on the international pitch.”

Imogen Spence, Captain of Biggar U16 Girls said: “Game by game this team has been built to what it is today. Saturday is a first for everyone in the team, but it’s been our goal since we fell short last season. There’s a fire in our belly to prove to ourselves that we have what it takes to win the Cup.”

Boys U16 Shield: Peebles v Stirling County – 3.30pm, DAM Health Stadium

Peebles will face Stirling County at DAM Health Stadium for the U16 Shield in what is sure to be a hard fight for both sides to claim the top spot.

Ruairidh Dougherty, Captain of Peebles RFC Under 16s relishes the opportunity ahead, saying: “The whole squad is very excited to have reached this final and to have this opportunity. Looking back to the start of the season it’s incredible to see how far we’ve all come as a team, and I hope we can all impress and show why we’ve made it to the final on Saturday.”

Graham McAlpine, Head Coach of Stirling County U16 Boys said: “We are delighted for the players to reach the Shield final this weekend. The selection for the weekend has been a really tough decision for the coaches, the squad are focused on continuing their development pushing themselves on the pitch and playing a brand of rugby that they really enjoy and that we hope is entertaining for all concerned on the day.”

Girls U16 Shield: Dumfries Saints v Murrayfield Wanderers – 6pm, DAM Health Stadium

Dumfries Saints have reached their first ever Finals event and are set to take on local residents, Murrayfield Wanderers, under the lights of DAM Health Stadium. 

Dominic Stewart, Head Coach of Dumfries Saints U16 Girls, said: “I’m so proud of every player in this team and all that they have achieved so far this season. It is a fantastic achievement for the players to have reached the National Shield Final but also in their first season in the National League placing second in their group is no easy feat.

“We know how tough this final will be, but our players team spirit, ferociousness, confidence, and mindset are a force to be reckoned with and together our players can overcome any odds and to win the day the girls will have to come out fighting from the start.”

For Andy McCulloch, Head Coach of Murrayfield Wanderers U16 Girls, he is grateful for the collective efforts at the club to help the squad reach the final saying: “I would like to thank the coaches, parents and players for their help through out what has been season of learning and let them know that this would not have been possible without their input.”

Boys U18 Cup: Boroughmuir v Peebles RFC – 6pm, BT Murrayfield Stadium

The final boys’ game of the day will take place centre stage of BT Murrayfield as Boroughmuir look to retain the title, whilst first-time finalists Peebles look to make their inaugural Cup final one to remember.

Gavin Lockhart, Boroughmuir U18 Boys Captain said: “The final is an exciting opportunity for the boys to showcase their talent, and the hard work they’ve put in all year. Peebles have been strong this season so we’re confident it’ll be a great contest.

“The boys are up for the challenge though. A few of us played in the final last year but it doesn’t mean we’ll be any less nervous. We’ll be ready though. Really looking forward to it!”

Njord Maciver, Head Coach of Peebles RFC Colts said: “Everybody at Peebles Rugby Club is looking forward to a big day out at BT Murrayfield on Finals Day. To have made the U18 final for the first time in the club’s history is already a great achievement and to have it done in the club’s centenary year makes it even more special.

“Whatever happens on the day, the whole town are proud of every member of the squad for their amazing efforts.”

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