Led by captain Lewis McNamara, the 1st XV won the Schools' Cup in the 2015 final against Wallace High School 14-10. This is the 30th win for RBAI, in the most prestigious of the school rugby competitions in Northern Ireland. The success of the team is complemented with the Medallion squad recently winning the Medallion Shield, and securing The Double. Added to the first and medallion victories, the 4th XV face the 3rd XV in the thirds final. This is a terrific season for the rugby club.
Wallace had been the leading team in Ulster Schools rugby this season and were the only unbeaten side in the province. It was however Inst who had come closest to beating them by drawing 17 all in Lisburn in December. This previous battle along with the intense Medallion Shield final won by Inst the previous week meant the Cup final was always going to be a tight affair.
Wallace in their 5th final were looking for their first win whilst Inst were looking to add title number 30 to their record.
Inst had the upperhand in the early exchanges but were unable to capitilise on the early pressure they were exerting on Wallace. Both teams were playing with great endeavour and it was Wallace who took the lead after 20 minutes with a brilliant try to Conor Guiney on the wing. Just before the interval Inst stole a line out and captain Lewis McNamara crashed over for TJ Morris to goal.
From an Inst error at the scrum Wallace regained the advantage with a Max Trouton try and Cardosi, who had failed with a penalty attempt, missed the conversion.
The Inst coaching staff had done a lot of homework on the Wallace side it this was to pay dividends in the final quarter of the match. Firstly an excellent worked move off a lineout maul resulted in wing Jack Conlin cutting through the defence to score under the posts, Tj Morris converted for a 14-10 lead. It was then the excellent organisation of the lineout defence that ensured although under consistent pressure the Inst team were able to steal crucial lineouts and relieve pressure from inside their 22.
The game finsihed with Inst having to repel continual raids into their area but the defence held and Inst were deserved winners.
The win was the first Cup win since 2007 and the first time the ‘double’ of Schools Cup and Medallion Sheild had been lifted in the same year by Inst since 1959.
With the 3rd XV Cup final being won by Inst 4tth XV over Inst 3rd XV and the 2nd XV progressing to the semi final the season has been a remarkable one for the Inst rugby community.
For the full Schools' Cup Programme, including player statistics, please see below: