Largs Academy progress to semi-finals of Warriors Championship
Wet conditions at Scotstoun yesterday couldn't prevent an entertaining and dramatic conclusion to the second round of qualifying in the 2020 SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship.
It was Largs Academy who prevailed in the end, ensuring semi-final qualification for the second year in a row.
Tournament debutants Larbert High School pushed Largs all the way, with both schools winning five and drawing two of their nine matches.
Largs scored a total of 43 tries, seven more than Larbert, to secure a nervy passage into the semi-finals being held back at Scotstoun on Wednesday, April 22.
Four schools were competing in the second round - Loudoun Academy, St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Larbert High School and winners Largs Academy.
Each school had S1 and S2 boys’ teams and an under-15s girls' team competing with 138 tries scored across 18 matches.
This is the third year Glasgow Warriors’ official Community Partner, SP Energy Networks, have supported the Championship that aims to raise awareness and improve access to grassroots level rugby – whilst also promoting active and healthy lifestyles to young people.
The Championship, and important community engagement it generates, also seeks to recognise sport as a valuable life tool in teaching children about team working, leadership and communication skills.
A total of 1,215 boys and girls from 27 schools across west, central and southern Scotland are battling it out to be crowned 2020 champions.
Delighted Largs Academy coach Andy Duncan said: "It was a close run thing and we are really pleased to have qualified.
"We knew it was close between ourselves and Larbert High School and it was nerve-racking at the end.
"But all our players worked really hard to get in this position and to make the semi-finals again is brilliant.
"All our captains led their teams really well, from the warm-ups into the matches, and it paid off in the performances."
He continued: "Our girls have come a long way in a short space of time and playing in the SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship is a massive help for their development.
"It's testament to the school for the effort they put into rugby.
"We are into our fourth year of the School of Rugby and we’re seeing plenty of players transitioning into the local clubs which is very encouraging."
Largs S1 captain Glenn Connachan added: "The atmosphere at Scotstoun was really good because there were so many kids competing.
"I'm a Glasgow Warriors fan so to actually get to play on the pitch is special.
"I am a winger like Tommy Seymour and it would be great to follow in his footsteps and play for Glasgow Warriors and then one day for Scotland. That would be amazing."
Scotland and Glasgow Warriors lock Jonny Gray watched some of the action on Wednesday and passed on his wisdom to those taking part.
"It was great to see Jonny on the sidelines," St Thomas Aquinas girls' captain Rene Tervit said.
"I was quite nervous but as soon as I got into our games I relaxed.
"I have been playing rugby for about five months and fell in love with the sport very quickly.
"I enjoy being captain, helping to bring individuals together as a team."
A record number of 405 girls are taking part in the 2020 SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship.
Supporting women and girls on the pitch is mirrored in SP Energy Networks' support of women in the workplace through activities like apprenticeships, women returners’ programmes and their #NotJustForBoys campaign in partnership with the Scotland Women Rugby team.
Larbert High School's Emily Forsyth said: "I came to watch the Scotland Women Rugby team play Wales at Scotstoun last year and I would really like to run out here one day in a Scotland top.
"I'm in the School of Rugby at Larbert and love the team spirit that is created when we play against other teams."