Enniskillen Royal Grammar School are confident they can continue to build on their good season with progress in the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup.

The school’s biggest game of the season comes on Saturday morning when they take on Down High School in the fourth round of the prestigious tournament, and coach Ashley Finlay believes the team have what it takes to progress.

“We are very confident because we have performed very well throughout the season,” he said.

“We have quite a young team and a bit of inexperience but they are very strong in terms of their skill and ability and lots of potential. Obviously the cup is slightly different but if we play our capabilities and don’t let the nerves get the better of us, we should be able to put in the performance that will let us come away with the result.”

Finlay is in no doubt that his team will need to be at their best if they are to make it into the draw for round five, and he says there is no danger of taking anything for granted even though they have been handed a home tie and have avoided the tournaments favourites.

“To start with a home game is vital but we are going in against a team that has played two games already and won two games away from home, so they are going in with a lot of confidence as well.

“Although they were ranked lower than us, they have travelled and beat Carrick and Omagh so they are obviously quite strong and used to travelling and will be able to come to Enniskillen and put up a good show as well.”

With the two sides not having met in recent seasons it will be a step into the unknown for ERGS, but that is not a concern for Finlay who has faith that the quality in his own squad will be enough to handle whatever approach Down adapt. “If we can go in and play our own game then we would be confident of coming away with the result,” he said.

“We don’t know a ton about them. We don’t play them as one of our regular fixtures during the year, and what we have to base anything off is results against teams we have played. They have an out half that is in the Irish under age camp so he is obviously a very talented player but I don’t like reading into other teams and what they do and how good they are. I think that personally I like to play our own game and not to tailor our tactics to the opposition, because then you lose what you have been doing for so long.”

Finlay has first-hand experience of what it is like to play in the tournament, having been a member of the Portora squad that reached the quarter finals over a decade ago, and he believes that the current squad have the character and attitude to cope with the big occasion.

“They are a very demanding group. They have set their target at the start of the year and they are very determined to achieve that,” he said.

“A lot of the younger boys would have played on the Medallion shield semi-final last year and that was a big achievement for them. That will stand to a lot of those boys that have come up, so even though they are young they still have that big match experience. They are not a group that will shy away from a task. It is what all the schoolboys have been working towards all year, and most of their school rugby career as well. I still talk to my mates about our cup runs, and that is 10 or 12 years ago, and it is the best rugby that a lot of the boys will play, but I don’t think there will be many nerves apart from the usual Saturday morning rugby ones.”

The team will be looking to take full advantage of the home draw, and Ashley has called on the local support to be loud and vocal in their support. “The support will make the difference and that is what we love about cup rugby. It really does get a lot of the community behind us and we would love to see a big crowd out,” he concluded.