On Wednesday 9th March, our 1st XV will be playing Merchiston in the Scottish Rugby Boy’s School Cup Final at 6:30pm at BT Murrayfield on the international pitch. We decided to catch up with Stewart’s Melville College Head of Rugby, Stuart Edwards, to find out how our 1st XV are preparing ahead of the game.
How are you feeling ahead of the final?
Excited. This is the pinnacle of the school rugby calendar, and we can’t wait to get going. It is an amazing occasion and one we are proud to be a part of again. The event really brings our school community together and shows just how special rugby is here at ESMS.
What are your thoughts on the team’s performance in the Scottish Schools Cup so far?
It’s been a slightly different year in terms of competition format. Usually, the cup and conference stand alone but this year having to qualify for the cup through conference standings has made it even more exciting.
Finishing unbeaten in our conference was a huge confidence booster for our players moving into the cup stages. The Glenalmond game (quarter-final) was a wet and windy affair in Perthshire, and I was impressed by how fast our team started the game and the clinical edge they displayed. The semi-final vs. Watson’s was even windier and we did well to negotiate the conditions and come out on top against a stuffy Watson’s side who never gave in.
What has the team been focusing on in training since their win against Watson’s?
It’s been a case of managing the load on our players both physically and mentally. With quite a substantial break between semi and final, we have been conscious to not overload our players too early. We have focused on the learnings from the semi-final game whilst prepping for what Merchiston will bring in the final through our preview process.
Merchiston are a very strong opposition. What are you expecting from them in the final?
We are expecting a cracking match. The last time we played them in October it was a wet day, and I was pleased with the physicality we brought to that game. They have some talented players, and they like to play at speed so we will be well-prepared to target their strengths and hopefully expose some of the areas we feel we can get to them. It promises to be a showcase of top-level schoolboy rugby in Scotland.
What’s your favourite part about playing at Murrayfield?
For us, being able to represent our school on the biggest stage is something we are very proud of. It is a once in a lifetime experience for most people to play on the national pitch, so we are going to make sure we make the most of it. In essence, it’s just another game of rugby but the reality is that this is a very special occasion, and I can’t wait to see our boys out there.
Best of luck to our Ist XV on Wednesday, from all of us at ESMS! If you would like to help cheer them on at Murrayfield, then please click here to book a free ticket.