National Youth Finals 2023 | U18 & U16 Boys Plate and Bowl Preview

National Youth Finals 2023 | U18 & U16 Boys Plate and Bowl Preview

The action continues this weekend in the National Youth Cup competitions as eight teams go head-to-head across the country for silverware in the U18 and U16 Boys Plate and Bowl Finals. Read more about the games and how the team’s line up in our preview.

U18 Boys National Bowl Final – Kirkcaldy v Hamilton/Strathaven, Beveridge Park, KO 2pm

Kirkcaldy and a combination team of Hamilton/Strathaven will face each other at Beveridge Park on Saturday 16 December in a battle for the National Bowl title.

The two teams had highly competitive semi-finals, with Kirkcaldy narrowly defeating Dalziel 24-28, and Hamilton/Strathaven edging the win from Whitecraigs, 25-24.

Speaking ahead of the game, Hamilton’s captain, Jack O’Neill, said: “We are really excited to be representing the team, the club and our families at the Bowl final. Looking back at the start of the season it’s incredible to see how far we have come.

“We had a difficult start in the Bowl, by having to travel all the way to Orkney to win the quarter-final and it’s truly impressive to see how much the team has developed and continue to develop over the season.

“A large part of that is due to our amazing coaching team, who help us week on week. I speak for the whole team when I say we are very excited for Saturday, when we want to put on a show and a performance that deserves a win.”

Kirkcaldy’s captain, Euan Stewart, added: “Although we’re not playing the Final at the Hive or Scottish Gas Murrayfield, not many teams get to play a Final on their home ground so this will be an occasion to remember.”


15. Euan Stewart CAPTAIN 14. Corey Connor 13. Ronan Glendinning 12. Ryan Finnie 11. Alan Pratt 10. Aiden Denholm 9.Luke Marshall 1. Rory Mill 2. Jake Sandilands 3. Owen Thomson 4. Devon Fyfe 5. Peter Bryden 6. Kyle Linlithgow 7. Finlay Barker 8. Ethan Murray

Replacements: 16. Ryan Mellon 17. Gregor Mizerny 18. Ricky Thornburn 19. Macauley Symon 20. Aaron Enoka 21. Deryn Montgomery 22. Jordon Ward


15. Ewan Campbell 14. Harris Adams 13. Cameron Ritchie 12. Rory Peters 11. Taylor Brown 10. David Brogan 9. Robby Johnston 1. Frazer Wallace 2. DJ Rankin 3. Callum Ramage 4. Jack O’Neill CAPTAIN 5. Hamish Lightbody 6. Graeme Sommerfield 7. Ewan Thorpe 8. Dean Sharpe

Replacements: 16. Ciaran Swan 17. Keith Zinhu-Glover 18. Ari Sciallo 19. Theodore Duncan  20. Logan Wotherspoon 21. Corey Galloway 22. Archie Watson

U18 Boys National Plate Final – Kelso Harlequins v Selkirk Youth, Poynder Park, KO 5pm

It’s a Borders derby in the National Plate final as Kelso Harlequins face Selkirk Youth on Saturday 16 December.

Kelso’s semi-final clash saw them defeat Biggar 5-37 for a spot I the final, whilst Selkirk beat Jed-Thistle, 40-22.

Ahead of the game, Harlequins captain, Ben Burton, said: “We are really excited by the opportunity to represent Kelso in a National Final. Since the beginning of the season we’ve worked tirelessly and I hope we can showcase the talent that got us into the Final. We all feel proud to be representing the club and would love to win silverware especially at home on Saturday.”

Their coach, Kevin Hendry, added: “The boys have worked hard and enjoyed the National Plate competition this season. It’s great getting to play sides from all over the country and the players have performed admirably throughout.

“We had a very narrow win at Selkirk earlier in the season, so the Final on Saturday is sure to be a cracker and will undoubtedly be a very close affair again. We are all looking forward to it and hopefully the boys can perform well and win some silverware for the club.”

Speaking to before the Final, Selkirk Youth coach, Scott Easson, said: “All involved at Selkirk Youth Rugby Club are very proud to have reached the Final, a tremendous achievement, especially with limited squad numbers. It is a fantastic opportunity for our players to participate in a National Final. We are looking forward to the rematch with Kelso Harlequins and hope this encounter will be as closely fought as the league match earlier this season.”

Selkirk’s Craig McDougal, added: “We know how proud all our players are to be representing the team, the club and their families and no matter what happens they should extremely proud of their achievements.”

Kelso Harlequins

Selkirk Youth

15. Oliver McClymont 14. Frazer Kelly 13. Robbie MacDonnell 12. Brodie Allan 11. Harris McEwan 10. Kyle Pearson 9. Coran Hulme 1. Devin Oliver 2. Craig Cochrane CAPTAIN 3. Shaun MacFarlane 4. Hamish Scott 5. Elliot Hastie 6. Sam Findlater 7. Charlie Lyall 8. Cameron Forster VICE-CAPTAIN

Replacements: 16. Finlay Smith 17. Hamish Simpson

U16 Boys National Bowl Final – Falkirk v Aberdeen Wanderers, Horne Park, KO 2pm

On Sunday, Aberdeen Wanderers will travel to the central belt to face Falkirk at Horne Park.

Aberdeen’s journey to the Final saw them defeat Kelso, 41-21 in the semi-final, whilst Falkirk’s opposition of East Kilbride/Strathaven were unable to complete the semi-final fixture, granting them a bye to the Final. In their final, Falkirk defeated Moray/Huntly, 12-52.

Speaking ahead of the game, Falkirk’s captain, Archie Ballingall, said: “This is our first year back as Falkirk Midi’s section. At the start of the season, we were definitely a development team with a lot of new faces, but with the effort that the team put in during preseason, we began to gel together and show improvement.

“There were some bumps along the way, but every game we improved, and this came down to not only our determination and drive to be better but was also helped by the teams we played against both in the League and Cup. Every game was a battle and very competitive, where our opponents never gave up. This helped us to build skills and structure that we used to progress in the League and proceed through the Cup competition.

“We wouldn’t have been able to be competitive if we didn’t have the whole backing of the club and coach’s that helped support us throughout the season, but also all the volunteers that helped bring Midi Rugby back to Falkirk RFC which ultimately allowed us to succeed in ways we could have never dreamt of and got us to this final.

“Irrespective of the result on Sunday, which we can guarantee will be a competitive game from both sides, I’m confident rugby at FRFC will continue to flourish.”

Aberdeen Wanderers’ captain, Matthew Herbert, is equally excited for the contest, saying: “The boys are all thrilled to have come this far and have the opportunity to play teams we wouldn’t normally come up against.

“Everyone has put in a lot of work and the improvement of the team this season is phenomenal. We fully intend to play a good game on Sunday and show what we’re capable of.”


15. Aaron Hogg 14. Kian Menzies-MacAlpine 13. Jack Fenton 12. Caleb Stanners 11. Zander Schulz 10. Archie Ballingall CAPTAIN 9. Nathan Morrison 1. Liam Burns 2. Archie Coleman 3. Aiden Hanson 4. William Fraser 5. Jamie Barbour 6. Cairn Marshall 7. Craig Ross 8. Matt Taylor

Replacements: 16. Fraser Differ 17. Ethan Hodge 18. Conor Lochrie 19. Jack Anthony 20. Adam Farquhar 21. Gregor Jacques 22. Donnie McGregor

Aberdeen Wanderers

15. Alexander Aitkin 14. Struan Munro 13. Rufus McLaren 12. Ben Massie 11. Finn Duggan 10. Nathan McGregor 9. Aidan Buckthorpe 1. Jack Rowlands 2. Michael Baverstock 3. Hamish Carey 4. Logan McKenzie 5. Fraser Rose 6. Leo Di Meola 7. Daniel Myles 8. Matthew Herbert CAPTAIN

Replacements: 16. Adam Berry 17. Kerr Menzies 18. Louis Munn

U16 Boys National Plate Final – Jed-Thistle v Deeside, Riverside Park, KO 2pm

Deeside travel to the Borders to face Jed-Thistle in the National Plate Final on Sunday.

The Aberdeenshire based side overcame opposition from Dundee in the semi-final with a 44-5 win. Jed-Thistle’s journey to the final saw them defeat Orkney, 35-17.

Harry Wright, captain for the Jed-Thistle side is hoping that the opportunity to host the Final will provide great motivation to his side, saying: “Everybody in the team is really looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Final. Jedburgh is a small community so we’re a close-knit group, hopefully that will help us perform on the day.”

Ahead of the game, Deeside’s captain, Callum Gray, said: “It is great for Deeside U16s to be playing in the Borders this weekend where there is such a great tradition in Scottish rugby. Our team has had a challenging start to the season, but we have improved and gained confidence throughout our Cup run.

“We hope to make our club, coaches, and family proud by playing our best rugby, and come home knowing we have given everything. We will represent our club and game in the final in a positive way and enjoy the whole experience.”

Deeside’s coach, David Smart, added: “Deeside Rugby Club and coaches are proud and delighted that this terrific squad of 27 players have reached a National Final for the first time. Some of these players have played rugby together since the age of five, and some are new recruits, but collectively they have formed a close bond and they have gone from strength to strength this season.

“The season started with a tour to Bordeaux and it is fantastic to finish 2023 hunting silverware in a Final.”


15. Cody Heard 14. Sana Saukawa 13. Callum Auchinleck 12. Logan Scott 11. Dylan Crozier 10. Scott Humble 9. Darcy Thomson 1. Finlay Borthwick 2. Tom Mactaggart 3. Edward Bolam-Peel 4. Rory Turnbull 5. Thomas Elliot-Simpson 6. Jan Szumielewicz 7. Harry Wright CAPTAIN 8. Jamie Glen

Replacements: 16. Marcin Skorupka 17. Alistair Davies 18. Rory White 19. Alex Wieczysty 20. James Henderson 21. Rogan Kerr 22. CJ Fender


15. Danny Noble 14. Oliver Njuguna 13. Rory Grant 12. Keir Morrow 11. Callum Anderson 10. Rory Smart 9. Archie Saunders 1. Owen Sonnier 2. Lewis Pereira 3. Alex Jones 4. Liam Holmes 5. Archie Pope 6. Callum Gray CAPTAIN 7. Lorne Macdonald 8. Kristian Eggerton

Replacements: 16. Nathan Tawse 17. Harry Rooksby 18. Harris Thorne 19. Fergus Robb 20. Dylan McKay 21. Miles Miller 22. Harrison Rodgers

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