Schools Medallion Shield
Belfast Royal Academy 0
Portora progressed to the quarter finals of the Medallion Shield on Saturday, when they overcame four time winners BRA at Castle Lane.
The home side won the first scrum convincingly and Smyton put in a long, diagonal kick to set up a line-out five metres from the opposition line. This allowed Portora to apply early pressure. A succession of drives eventually led to Scott making the line from close range.
The homesters were on top from the restart, but for all their territory and possession Portora looked like they might come to regret not opting to kick a straightforward penalty in front of the posts.
However, the pack was in dominant form, with Barrett and Rutledge repeatedly making ground and scores were only a matter of time. After 20 minutes they were finally rewarded, when Haire fed Jack Moore from the base of a ruck. The second row stayed low to power over.
The weather conditions were changing from one extreme to the other. A strong cross-field wind was the one constant. Portora used it well in the second period to keep play in the opposition half for the main part. Dylan Johnston relentlessly pressed the number 10 to frustrate BRA’s efforts to relieve the pressure.
When they did get their kicks away, Boles, Irvine and Kennedy, at full-back, returned them with interest.
Thompson, Coulter and Scott were securing good ball from the set pieces and working hard in the loose.
With this dominance a third score seemed inevitable and it arrived with 15 minutes to go. Blake Scott scored a typical effort when he spotted an opportunity from the base of a ruck on the BRA line.
Smyton converted and Scott made way for Rosborough to come on in the front row. Holder, Toal and Deane came into the back line, with Keys moving to scrum-half.
Portora continued to monopolise play. There was a great move down the right hand side, with a series of off-loads. Then Rutledge collected a loose ball on half-way, near the left touch line and ran it to the BRA 22. Jack Deane was in support but was stopped just short.
BRA managed to clear but the kick was fielded brilliantly by Josh Kennedy who ran it back. From a rucked ball at the tackle, Smyton ended the game as he had started it, by drilling a kick into touch, deep in the BRA half.
Next up is a home tie against RBAI, one of the real heavyweights in the competition and last year’s winners. They defeated Ballymena Academy at the weekend, in a repeat of the 2014 final.
There are two great games coming up at Portora, with the First XV hosting Wallace at the weekend in the Schools’ Cup. The Medallion’s match is likely to be played the following Saturday.
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