Enniskillen Royal are ready for the challenge of facing the holders of the Schools’ Cup on Saturday.

The Enniskillen school will travel to Belfast to take on Campbell College in the quarter finals, and they are looking to spring a surprise against their high profile opponents and secure a spot in the last four of the tournament.

Having eased past Down High School in the last round the draw for the last eight threw up a stiffer challenge, but forward coach Alastair Keys is confident their youthful team can rise to the occasion.

“We have a very young team and it is a really big ask for them to go and take this on, but they are absolutely up for it,” he said.

“We are obviously paying them a lot of respect. They are the holders and everybody knows the resources and the pedigree they have, but we are not going up there to make up the numbers either. It will be a step up this week, there is no doubt about that.

“We are in the quarter final of the Schools’ Cup so all the teams are good and any draw was going to be difficult. We would have liked to have a home draw but that just adds to the challenge.”

The quarter final against Campbell is a repeat of the 2006 Schools’ Cup semi-final in which Portora were narrowly beaten 17-13, but the teams have rarely faced off against each other in recent seasons.

“We haven’t played them before, although the Medallion team played them last year and we got a win up there,” said Alastair.

“Presumably their team is predominantly sixth formers whereas our team is 50 per cent fifth form which makes it hard, but the boys have been coming up against teams all year that are older than them and they’re not fazed by that. Hopefully they won’t be on Saturday.”

ERGS Head of rugby Ashley Finlay has led the team through a successful season, with Alastair Keys focussing on the forwards.

The coaching team has also included Josh Kennedy, Rodney Balfour and new PE teacher Stewart McCain, and they have all been impressed with the focus of the squad as they look to build on their win in the previous round.

“The guys have been really good in training,” said Alastair.

“We were obviously pleased to get through to the quarter final and I thought they played pretty well.

“There are things that we obviously need to work on, and we have been doing that over the last week. We are taking videos of the game and we can look at what we can improve.

“I was taking them for a session and I thought the attitude, concentration and focus was really good. We could see a marked attention to detail and focus which is great to see.”

Alastair is both a parent and a coach, with sons Eddie and Henry both part of the squad.

Eddie is likely to start the match at out half, and his father has been impressed with how Eddie and his teammates have approached the competition.

“I would say Alex Parke and Callum Smyton are not only two of the best and most consistent players to have represented the school, but they’re also two of the best leaders, which is a real asset to the squad,” he said. “Eddie will be taking the kicks and you are obviously hoping those go well for him, but he is pretty relaxed about it, which is good. Hopefully he will stay that way in the big game.”

The players will have to face a vocal home support, but Alastair is hoping the travelling parents and fans can help cheer their own side to victory.

“It’s going to be a very intimidating atmosphere and there will be a very big crowd at Campbell,” he acknowledged. “We hope as much of our support will travel as possible because we don’t get into too many quarter finals, and a quarter final against the holders and one of the big Belfast schools is always something special.”