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Ayr's school visit can teach much

Ayr under-18s take on George Watson's College at Myreside on Friday, a meeting between the National Youth Champions and the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup winners and a match which could prove to be an important step in breaking down the barrier between club and school.

There has been a reluctance by the independent schools to embrace the idea of playing against club sides, despite many of their traditional fixtures resulting in huge mismatches between schools that are effectively nurseries for professional players and those that are not. There has also been a dragging of heels at Murrayfield over bringing together club and school, despite a motion passed at a past Scottish Rugby Union annual general meeting which called for the introduction of some competition to bridge what is an artificial divide.

Should not the Brewin Dolphin competition, for example, have been opened up to all sides at under-18 and under-16 levels instead of being restricted to schools? Allowing clubs to enter the competition might not have produced different outcomes but at least it would have given state school players, through their clubs, a chance to play at a higher level.

It is understood that although the SRU has endorsed Ayr's match with Watson's, the fixture was the brainchild of Ally Donaldson, the Watson's and Currie coach,and his Ayr counterpart, Peter Laverie.

Ayr will go into Friday's game on the back of a 13-11 victory over Melrose Wasps in the quarter-final of the Youth Cup, on a day in which the defending champions Stirling County lost 18-17 to Biggar. For their part, Watson's emerged 10-8 winners against Stewart's-Melville College.

Meanwhile, a waterlogged pitch forced the postponement of Glasgow High School's match with George Heriot's Schools, while Dundee High School defeated Glasgow Academy 24-10. St Aloysius College also defeated Kelvinside Academy, Dollar Academy beat Edinburgh Academy, and Carrick Academy and Queen Victoria School defeated Linlithgow Academy and Marr College, respectively.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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