A dour game played in rainy conditions so there was little exciting rugby when Belfast Royal Academy and Royal Belfast Academy Institute drew at Roughfort.
A draw was a fair result as neither side excelled or showed any real dominance so some improvement will be expected when they meet at Osborne Park on Wednesday. Inst will consider the firmer conditions will be more to their liking then.
Inst failed to play to their capabilities although they did have the better of the play in the first half. They were rewarded with a Matthew McGuigan penalty to lead at the half-way stage. A number of opportunities had ensued but they just couldn't get that final pass away. At the same time Academy defended well, were quick at the breakdown but penalties were missed.
After the restart Academy had the territorial advantage but were unable to turn that into tries. They did have an easy David Cartmill penalty with 15 minutes to go and managed to keep Inst under control until the dying minutes. A penalty was awarded 35 metres out at the very end for 'playing the ball on the ground' so McGuigan had the chance to clinch victory but the difficult kick was missed
The Inst coach Richard Hedley was not too disappointed: “I would liked to have won but, on the balance of play, it was a reasonable result. We can compete better but Academy were formidable and didn't allow us to play to our full potential.
“Some players may have been nervous in their first Schools' Cup tie but those will have gone before the replay. Over the past month we have been improving with every outing and although we now have them at home it will still be a difficult task.”
One player to shine during the tie was Inst full-back Matthew McGuigan. He kicked well, especially out of hand and his long kicks kept Academy pinned inside their own territory. His direction was good and he was always a danger in attack.
BRA: J.Buchanan, M.Robinson, D.Cartmill, M.Glover, E.Devlin, S.Olding, C.Spence, J.Thompson, N.Sinclair, D.McCallum, N.O'Neill, C.Leckey, T.Vincent, R.Clark, J.Henderson, A.Martin, A.McCormick, M.Nicholl, J.Simpson, A.Magee, A.McClements, R.Vance.
RBAI: M.McGuigan, K.Mitchell, M.McAuley, K.McLean, B.Hastings, J.Carlisle, M.Taylor, H.Martin, M.Mairs, C.Neill, B.Alexander, M.Kilpatrick, A.Andress, Z.Welshman, P.Bell, P.Noble, G.Lawlor, G.Coulter, N.Alexander, J.Elliott, N.Dougan.