DANSKE BANK SCHOOLS’ CUP ROUND 4
Ballyclare High School v Royal School Armagh
Ballyclare have plenty of Ulster representatives to call on for this tie, and they’ll hope all of them have big games.
The hosts are able to call upon a strong pack featuring the likes of Tom McAllister and Owen Warren in the front-row and an impressive back-row consisting of Kyle Ferguson, James Spence and Luke McIlwrath. In the backs, fly-half Alex Darrah and centre Peter Gillespie can shine.
Co-defending champions Armagh saw off BRA in round three and the likes of James Anderson, Harry Davey and Matthew Monaghan provide major threats on their side.
VERDICT: Ballyclare HS
Ballymena Academy v Coleraine Grammar
In what is one of the ties of the weekend, Ballymena will want to send director of rugby John Andrews off on a high and that starts with beating rivals Coleraine. Connor Drain, Adam Thompson, Joshua Gallagher and Tom McMaster are dangers.
On the opposite side, Coleraine have an abundance of riches in the backs, with Irish Schools centre Rory Telfer the stand-out alongside centre partner Harry Hughes and half-backs Clark Logan and Jordan McAuley. Up front, prop Nathan Ogborne and No.8 Noah Gordon provide the ballast.
VERDICT: Ballymena Academy
Campbell College v Down High
Campbell College come into this year’s tournament carrying some decent form and will look to the likes of Zac Solomon, Joe Hopes, Cameron Hillis and Matthew Booth to maintain that into the knockouts.
Down High did well in winning away at Rainey Endowed in the previous round and will look for strong performances from the likes of Joe Dooley and Ethan Fitzsimmons again as they try to upset the odds once more.
VERDICT: Campbell College
Wallace High v Royal School Dungannon
Another Doak coming through the Wallace system, Cameron is the latest off the production line and leads the Wallace push. He will be ably assisted by a strong kicking game from the likes of centre Finn Rankin and Matthew Halliday in their bid to defend their title.
One of the older teams in the last-16, Royal School Dungannon will be boosted by the return of scrum-half Adam Scott, while centre James Girvan, openside James McCammon and No.8 Reuben Gibson are all Ulster representatives as well.
VERDICT: RS Dungannon
Dromore High v Regent House
After beating rivals Banbridge Academy last time out, Dromore have a couple of returnees in their pack to aid their squad as Adam Mulligan and Kyle Stirling come in alongside the impressive Ryan Rogers at prop and flanker Matthew Heasley.
The backs have been shuffled slightly, with Ulster U19 centre Nathan Hook moving to full-back and Michael Pepper coming in to partner the impressive Jonny Scott in midfield. Captain Max Brush can pull the strings from fly-half.
Zac Campbell and Adam Finlay will be the primary dangers for Regent.
VERDICT: Dromore HS
Enniskillen Royal Grammar v Methodist College
It’s always noteworthy when the competition’s most successful team enter, and this MCB team will be keen to add No.37 to their trophy cabinet.
In the pack, the Belfast school will use No.8 Michael Crothers as a particularly dangerous ball carrier, supported well by Patrick Fullerton-Healy and Josh Stevens, while their threat in the backs comes mainly from the lethal centre pairing of Jordan Hanratty and Peter Hagan.
Enniskillen Royal are likely to run with a similar team that defeated Dalriada in round three and, with another game under their belt, should be a dangerous opponent. Fly-half Tadhg Hambley and wing Ben McLaren pose the main threats.
VERDICT: Methodist College
Foyle College v Sullivan Upper
Foyle College were narrow victors over Belfast High in round three but deserved their win. Their team will be mostly unchanged and Ulster Clubs representative James McKillop and Ulster U18 fly-half Robert Rankin pose their big threats in a dangerous back line.
It’s been a tough year for Sullivan Upper, who have had their fair share of injuries and are still missing one or two figures, but can call upon the quality of No.8 Rory Carson and captain Matthew Latimer at scrum-half. Most promising is how they have been keeping all their results close despite their injury profile.
VERDICT: Sullivan Upper
Royal Belfast Academical Institution v Omagh Academy
Always threats in the Schools’ Cup, this RBAI side should be no different this year. Josh Eagleson is a stand-out in the backs, with Rory Stewart and Miles Lowe to be watched as well.
Omagh will be boosted by the return of James Fleming to their squad after he missed the win over Grosvenor with an arm injury, while No.8 Reece Braden and centre Joshua Kyle will be key players on the away side, as will Jamie Matthews.