Banbridge Academy coach Brian Leslie says his side will have a “slight psychological advantage” when they face Portora Royal School in Enniskillen in the second round of the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup on Saturday (kick off 11am).
The Academy came through their first round clash with Antrim Grammar with ease, securing a 45-0 win.
The Portora side have had a good season to date and have been seeded a round above the Academy directly into the second round.
That said though, the Academy did beat Portora 26-3 earlier in the year so it is set to be a close and exciting game.
Looking ahead to the visit to Portora, Coach Brian Leslie said: “We played them at the beginning of October and won 26-3, so we beat them quite well.
“I think they’d had a change of coaching panel over the summer, so it was obviously a new team trying to bed in.
“Whilst we won well it wasn’t a real reflection of the team. I’m happy to have that slight psychological advantage but there wasn’t a lot between the two teams.
“It’s always hard going there, it’s a long journey,” he added.
“We’ll leave early and rest up half way down there.”
Brian continued: “The match itself, they have a reasonable pack, a big pack. This is a Schools’ Cup game so they will have a big crowd out, we’ll have a travelling crowd too, with parents and supporters.
“They have three or four boys in the Ulster U16 and U17 squads, so you keep an eye out for boys like that.”
The Academy will hope to follow up on their fantastic first round win over Antrim Grammar, when they defeated their visitors 45-0.
“We were very pleased with that,” said Leslie. “We scored very early on which gave us the confidence to relax and play, but it took another 20 minutes to break them down again.
“We controlled the ball well and the set piece. Our scrum half Jay Pinion had a really good game and was a constant pain to them all day.
“Michael McGaffin also had a great game. He scored two that day. He’s our top scorer this season but he broke his hand that day so he’ll be gone for 6-8 weeks. It’s unfortunate for him and us.
“With regards to the squad for Saturday, we have some ideas, but most likely the only change we’ll have will be on that wing, assuming everyone comes through training alright.
“The key for us is the set piece,” the coach explained. “It went so well that day. We have a very talented back line and if we can produce ball for them we can do some damage to most teams. Our struggle this season has been to do that, but we have certainly got the back line to do damage.”
The match will kick off on Saturday at 11am.