The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Rugby Tour Report: Edinburgh 2020

The 47-member squad arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday evening with high levels of excitement for the tour ahead.
30-January-20
Rugby Tour Report: Edinburgh 2020

The 47-member squad arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday evening with high levels of excitement for the tour ahead. After a quiet evening, we were up early on Friday morning to train at the excellent facilities of Edinburgh University in which we worked hard on the pitch to develop our skills and game plan in preparation for our game against the reigning Scottish school’s champions Stewart Melville School Edinburgh as well as the upcoming cup campaigns for both teams. While we were also fortunate enough to use the university gym which was a bonus for our preparation.

Following free time to get lunch and relax, the squad took part in team bonding and goal setting exercises led by coach Mike Bentley. It can only be described as something that has benefitted every member of the squad establishing a clear aim for everyone involved in what we want to achieve as a team.

On Saturday morning the 1st XV played out a hard-fought 26-10 victory at the renowned Inverleith playing fields which in the past has hosted Scotland International games and was previously the home ground of Edinburgh. From the outset, the intensity that was brought to the game by the dominant RBAI forwards at the breakdown and set piece meant that our dangerous backline had plenty of attacking opportunities. After a sustained period of pressure in attack we scored two well taken tries by Oliver Metcalfe in quick succession that brought the score to 12-0. However, Stewart Melville were allowed back into the game scoring a ruthless try to bring the score to 12-5. They didn’t relent from there and had much of the possession for the remainder of the half, but an excellent defensive effort from the team and particularly from Oscar Lowe and Alex Weir meant we went into the half leading 12-5. After regrouping during the interval, we were able to take the initiative in the game, leading the territorial battle as a result of some excellent kicking from Jack Dickson and it wasn’t long until we were able to turn solid phases into points with stand-out forward Jonny Eagleson sniping over from close range to bring the score to 19-5. Nevertheless, an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration meant Stewart Melville scored a cheap try against the run of play leaving the score at 19-10. With the game delicately poised, we showed a lot of determination to stick to our game plan and eventually with less than 5 minutes to go, Adam Cooke intercepted a loose lineout throw to power over the line leaving the end result at 26-10. Jack Dickson finished with 3 out of 4 conversions whilst Jude Poslethwaite was rightly announced Man of the Match after being involved in everything that was positive in a strong team performance. With less than two weeks before the first cup match against BRA at home on the 8th February, the game was highly beneficial for us.

The 2XV also recorded an excellent 25-19 victory against the current Scottish 2XV School’s Cup holders. From the first whistle Stewart Melville took control of the game with multiple phases of attack trying to penetrate our well drilled defense and eventually scoring an unconverted try after 10 minutes of play. However, after regaining possession, we worked our way up the pitch with hard carries from the forwards which led to us gaining a penalty in front of the posts to which Jack Truesdale took the opportunity to get points on the board: 5-3 to Stewart Melville. From this point onwards we took full control of the game, as Chris Beaumont barged his way over the line to score and then a high ball caught by the RBAI fullback was quickly moved to winger David Purcell who finished well in the corner. A lack of focus from the returning kick led to Stewart Melville’s winger scoring a try against the run of play putting them right back into the game. With only a few minutes remaining of the first half, RBAI received another 3 points from a penalty giving RBAI an 18-12 lead going into the second half. Following the break, we came fast out of the blocks with most of the rugby being played in the oppositions half, yet unfortunately after conceding penalty after penalty we found ourselves in a 20-minute stalemate. A lose ball however led to Melville’s Centre scoring a try under the posts against the run of play, taking the score 19-18 to the hosts. The last 15 minutes saw us retain almost all of the possession and a break from our full-back put us 5-meters from the oppositions line. A long period of pressure which gave hooker Josh Cuthbert an opportunity to dive over the line and so our determination was rewarded. The last conversion left the final score at RBAI 25-19 Stewart Melville. Man of The Match was awarded rightly to try scorer Chris Beaumont for his hard carries and countless breaks and from the tee Jack Truesdale was successful with 4 out of the 5 kicks at goal.

On behalf of the 1st XV and 2nd XV, we thank Stewart Melville for not only providing us with two great games, but their overall hospitality was excellent before and after the game in giving us such a truly special schoolboy rugby experience.

On the final day of the tour it was clear that the physical nature of the games had taken their toll on both squads. We were given the fantastic opportunity to go the state of the art Oriam sports facilities used by the top sports teams in Scotland. In reflection, this was essential to everyone there with the gym, physio and hydrotherapy facilities providing the recovery aspect to the game that is often dismissed by so many rugby players at our age. The tour was rounded off with one final meal before we found ourselves leaving Edinburgh feeling ready for the cup games lined up for both squads when they returned.

A special thank-you must go to Mr Morgan, Mr Bentley, Mr McMullan, Mr Sheppard and Gavin Noble who put so much work into the organisation of the tour without whom the opportunities and experiences that we had would not have been available.

Hugo Ellerby & Jack Truesdale

Feb
29 2020
Medallion Semi-Final
Feb
29 2020
Lagan Head
Mar
03 2020
School's Cup Semi-Final TBC
Mar
04 2020
Return of Sixth Form Options Form
26-Feb-2020
The Public Health Agency (PHA) has updated its COVID-19 advice in line with the rest of the UK in light of new cases emerging in several countries.
29-Jan-2020
On Friday British Olympic swimmers Joe Roebuck and Amy Smith visited school, delivering an inspirational assembly and an afternoon training session.
20-Dec-2019
PwC came into RBAI and did a taster day with a 50 of our Year 10 students with their Hive Academy Programme. With this programme, PwC came in and delivered technology focused sessions to our students.
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