Isaac stars in Scottish Schools Under 18s final

Teenager Isaac Coates played a starring role in his school’s cup final win at the home of Scottish rugby.

Coates, who played for Driffield RUFC minis in the early stages of his rugby career, was an integral part of the Merchiston Castle team which triumphed in the Scottish Schools Under 18s Cup at Murrayfield.

His side went into the final against holders and conference champions Stewart’s Melville as underdogs, but upset the form book to overpower their unbeaten opponents 20-7 last Wednesday.

Cheered on by his family who travelled up from Rudston for the occasion, fly-half Coates impressed, with one report praising his ‘polished performance with a display of astute kicking from hand and clever distribution to his outside backs’.

Coates said: “Just to run out and play at Murrayfield was an amazing experience and then to win with my school and team mates against a formidable Stewart’s Melville College team was amazing.”

Merchiston Castle weathered an early storm and then scored two unconverted tries to take a 10-0 lead into half-time.

Isaac Coates in action at Murrayfield.

Stewart’s Melville threatened a fightback when they reduced the deficit to just three points but Merchiston crossed the line twice more to pull clear to start the celebrations for Isaac and his teammates.

Dad Robin said: “He started minis at six-years-old at Bridlington but moved to Driffield as he moved through the age groups.

“An opportunity to go to school at Merchiston Castle in Edinburgh was too good to turn down despite the logistics of a family that live in Rudston.

“His school career has brought him into the under 18s team a year early as he is in lower sixth currently.
“He’s also represented the Yorkshire rugby academy at under 17 level this year, but this was far and away his biggest moment.

“It was an amazing experience, my family all made the trip and I was so nervous that we might put him off, but they played superbly well.”

Isaac played for Driffield RUFC Minis in his younger days.

Merchiston’s director of rugby Roddy Deans told the school’s website: “I’ve been involved in many games of rugby as a player and as a coach over the years, but that was the best yet.

“We came into the match as underdogs because Stewart’s Melville had won the Conference and were unbeaten while they also beat us earlier in the year.

“However, this squad believes in themselves and we knew that if we could get some quick ball then we could play – and we did that and scored some incredible tries.

“We wanted to get the ball wide, we’ve been working on our attack for weeks and weeks and it paid off.”

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