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Friends' will have to be at best for an away day success

Strong squad: Friends’ coach Stephen Robinson
Strong squad: Friends’ coach Stephen Robinson

By Ronnie Ingram

Friends' School may have already recorded a 29-7 win over Grosvenor Grammar but having to travel to Castlereagh for the Danske Bank Schools' Cup Second Round clash tomorrow morning makes their task much more difficult.

They must be confident with a well-balanced team ably led by centre Matthew Chapman who is strong in defence and a speedy runner having scored many of their tries.

Full-back Stuart Patterson is a versatile player with a burst of speed out of defence while the other centre Jack Harte has strength with excellent footwork.

Out-half Reece Malone shows great promise with his kicking ability and control of a game. They also have pace out wide in the form of winger Luke Schofield and a formidable pack with Kyle Gormley having moved from the backs.

His extra bulk has helped him cope well in the back row beside the fast running No.8 Max Gillespie. Ross Shields is a dynamic prop with blistering pace for his size while Ethan Terris is the line-out expert who wins more than his share of ball.

The Lisburn side, who are mainly made up of the Medallion Shield final squad from two years ago, are well balanced and coach Stephen Robinson feels they are a great bunch of players who are eager to learn and develop their game and will give their all on the day.

Grosvenor gained a psychological boost with a 30-22 victory over Belfast High at the weekend and know they have improved immensely since their meeting with Friends' in October.

"The back row is a strong unit led by captain Josh Malcolm. Harry Graham and Joshua Patterson, who crashed over for a try on Saturday, are both fifth formers that have starred for the firsts this season," observed coach Mark McDowell.

"Our backline is expertly led by vice captain Jordan Brown and contains two dangerous centres in Danny Armstrong and Adam Moore.

"Overall we have 10 fifth formers in the squad so we are building for the future."

Carrickfergus Grammar, confident after their 24-10 first round Danske Bank Schools' Cup win over Antrim Grammar, face a more difficult hurdle when they entertain Down High.

They also have a number of fifth formers in their line-up including Liam Kaprigiannis-Green, Dylan Wright and Matthew Alexander.

They have all made a smooth transition from Medallion rugby. Their top scorer is out-half and captain for the second year Daniel Curley with six tries.

Down High have been having a mixed season but coach John Gunson is optimistic.

"We are a hard working squad and willing to learn from our errors. We have progressed over the weeks and would look forward to the opportunity to play again any of the teams we've lost to," he said.

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