Shawlands Academy into semi-finals

Shawlands Academy into semi-finals

Former champions Shawlands Academy are safely through to the semi-finals of the 2020 SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship after a strong display at Scotstoun on Wednesday.

The Glasgow southsiders won eight of their 12 matches, losing just two and scoring a total of 56 tries after taking advantage of the mainly dry conditions during round three of qualifying.

They join Largs Academy and Marr College in the semi-finals, having previously won the competition in 2018.

It was a competitive day of action on the main pitch at Scotstoun with all the schools running in an impressive number of tries.

Over the course of 30 matches, 257 tries were scored as 225 pupils from Wallace Hall Academy, Lenzie Academy, Falkirk High School, Cumnock Schools and Shawlands Academy took to the field.

Each school had S1 and S2 boys’ teams and an under-15s girls' team competing.

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.

Shawlands Academy coach Robbie Renwick said: "The standard of the competition has really gone up since we last played here two years ago.

"I was really impressed with all the schools taking part.

"Our players really had to dig in. Most of the games were tight so the resilience and determination to fight back at times was very pleasing.

"We have a brand new crop of players competing in the SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship and they are excited and highly motivated to do well this year.”

He added: "I was delighted for our girls who performed well. The number of girls playing rugby at the school is fantastic and it was very tough selecting a girls’ squad to play in the event.”

Glasgow Warriors players Stafford McDowall, Jonny Gray, Adam Nicol and DTH van der Merwe watched the action on Wednesday with Stafford admitting it brought back memories from when he first took up rugby.

He said: "It was Primary Seven when my dad took me down to Stewartry Rugby Club where he was coaching at the time.

"I loved it straight away and remember getting all my mates together from different schools and encouraging them to come and play which they did.

"That's what is so great about rugby, the team spirit you create and you can make friends for life. It's just one of those special sports."

He continued: "I remember coming to watch Glasgow Warriors with Stewartry and getting to play on the pitch at half-time.

"It was great fun and it's nice to see the high number of kids playing here today compared to when I started."

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.

Falkirk High School girls' captain Hollie Howland led her side superbly on Wednesday as they won all four of their matches.

She scored a number of tries and is thrilled that she made the decision to take up rugby in S1.

The 13-year-old said: "I was completely new to it and had quite a sense of trepidation.

"I didn't know what to expect but it has probably been the best decision I've ever made to start playing rugby.

"We are all one big team, everyone is so supportive and it’s just a brilliant sport."

She added: "I enjoy being captain and try to be a good role model for my teammates.

"I love running with the ball and tackling, especially on the main pitch here at Scotstoun. It was such a great experience."

Wallace Hall Academy were making their debut in the SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship and were top try scorers running in 61 tries across their 12 matches.

"It was a fun day and good to play against all the other schools," Wallace Hall Academy pupil Moya Flanagan said.

"I started playing rugby in S1 along with a lot of other sports but rugby was the one which stuck.

"There's a lot of skill to rugby and I enjoy working as a team."

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