RUGBY: RBAI claim dramatic Schools’ Cup victory

RBAI celebrate winning the Schools' Cup
RBAI celebrate winning the Schools' Cup

RBAI 14 v 10 Wallace High School

RBAI won a dramatic Schools’ Cup final at the Kingspan Stadium to lift the trophy for the first time in eight years.

It was the Belfast School’s 30th outright title and a first for coach Dan Soper in only his second year in the job.

Winger Jack Conlin’s try in the second half separated the teams although Wallace had plenty of opportunities to win the game.

Inst missed an opportunity to opening the scoring as scrum half TJ Morris was off target with an eighth-minute penalty.

Inst wasted another chance when they kicked a penalty to the corner but the resulting lineout throw wasn’t straight.

Morris missed a penalty from straight in front of the posts on 18 minutes as Inst continued to dominate but couldn’t turn pressure into points.

Wallace broke the deadlock on 26 minutes with their first sortie into the Inst 22.

The Lisburn School kicked a penalty to touch, and from the lineout the forwards drove it through three phases before the ball was sent wide and right winger Connor Guiney held off a tackle to squeeze over in the corner – centre Andrew Cardosi couldn’t convert the conversion from a tight angle.

Inst nearly got back in the game with a break from full-back Andrew McGregor, he chipped the defence but as he gathered Guiney was able to bundle him into touch.

However, from the resulting lineout Wallace lost the ball and Inst forwards drove and captain Lewis McNamara powered over from close range with Morris’s conversion giving Inst a 7-5 lead at the break – although Wallace squandered a chance to score of a rolling maul with the last play of the first half.

Cardosi missed an early penalty opportunity for Wallace at the start of the second half when his kick dropped under the posts.

Wallace regained the lead with their second try on 54 minutes, Inst had a scrum on their own 22 but they didn’t control it at the back allowing scrum-half Johnny Stewart to steal the ball and put No8 Max Trouton over – Cardosi missed the conversion.

The lead changed hands for the final time with Conlin’s try.

From a lineout the forwards made the hard yards, Morris threw a pass and Conlin came onto the crash ball and raced under the post with his scrum-half converting.

RBAI: A McGregor, J Finnegan, C McLaughlin, J Hume, J Conlin, M Lowry, TJ Morris, J Chambers, R McComiskey, J Dickson, G Bell, C Wallace, L McNamara (capt), E Harbinson, M Mairs

Replacements: C Reid, N Saulters, D Wallace, A Thompson, P Douglas, M Young, P Dolgahan, B McGavock

WALLACE HS: P Hylands, C Guiney, A Cardosi, R Wilson, B Finlay, N Kilpatrick, J Stewart, J Blair, B Pentland, A Weir, P Ferguson, G Malley, S Moore (capt), A Irvine, M Trouton

Replacements: M Smyth, G Dillon, N Woods, T Baird, Gary Chan, A Heaps, I Nzewi, A Black

Referee: Mark Patton