Wallace High School players Jonathan Stewart and Ben Finlay represented the Danske Bank Ulster Schools squad against Leinster on Saturday September 12 at Belfast Harlequins RFC.
Belfast Harlequin’s RFC was the setting for the Schools’ Interprovincial game between Ulster Schools’ and Leinster Schools.
Having beaten Munster Schools last week, Leinster were looking for a victory which would give them the Championship title in this truncated tournament, with Connacht Schools withdrawing.
The Leinster team won this closely contested game by 12-9 but not before the Ulster team had really put them to the test.
Leinster kicked off towards the pavilion end and the first action saw Ulster lock, Alastair Burke (Ballyclare HS), hit a great line and make good ground before the ball was moved wide to RS Armagh winger, Josh Agnew, who scorched up his wing to gain valuable ground for his team.
Subsequent pressure saw a succession of penalties to Ulster who kicked to the corner and continued to press, only to be curtailed by an Ulster forward going off his feet resulting in a penalty to Leinster who were thankful to clear their lines.
The relentless pressure eventually told when the Ulster centre, Callum Smith, opened Ulster’s account with a well-directed penalty to give his team a 3-0 lead.
The scrum continued to be a constant source of strength for Ulster and another Leinster collapse resulted in Callum Smith kicking another penalty to give Ulster a deserved 6-0 lead early in the second half. Leinster came back and a penalty for hands in the ruck allowed a kickable penalty to Leinster, but fly half Byrne elected to find the corner. This decision was vindicated when the Leinster pack carried captain, Caelan Doris, over for the first try of the afternoon. The subsequent conversion was good and the Leinster now had a 7-6 lead.
Ulster Centre, Calum Smith, missed a long range penalty but was successful minutes later with an easier effort to put his team into a 9-7 lead.
Leinster continued to attack and poor management by Ulster resulted in an overlap which Leinster lock and captain, Caelan Doris, exploited to go over for his second try. The conversion was missed and Ulster attacked to no avail until referee Ken Imbusch blew for full time.
Leinster become Interprovincial Champions and Ulster travelled to Cork last Saturday for the second place play off against Munster.