Enniskillen Royal will be aiming to make it through to a first Schools’ Cup semi-final since 2007 when they take on Wallace High at Eisenhower Playing Fields on Saturday.

Under the Portora name back then the school had made back to back semi-finals in ‘06 and ‘07 and they are hoping to return to that stage this year.

However, to do so they know that they are going to have to be at their best to overcome a strong Wallace side with head coach Ashley Finlay expecting a huge test against a side that they lost to earlier in the season.

“Wallace are always a tough team to face. They are a big rugby school and produce quality players and teams year after year.

“When we played them earlier in the year they played with great physicality but also had the ability to attack wide and cause us problems there,” he said.

Finlay though has belief in his own players and and wants them to grasp the opportunity to make it into the last four of the big schools’ rugby competition.

“Definitely, we haven’t shied away from that, we know that chances like this don’t come around too often and we are looking to seize the opportunity.

“By no means are we underestimating the task in hand as we know Wallace are a very good side but we have to back ourselves in games like this, we know how good we are and how good we can be, so we won’t be a afraid of the challenge,” he added.

ERGS suffered defeat in their last two recent quarter final ties but this one is at home and Finlay wants to make the most of that advantage.

“It’s huge, I’ve said it before but home draws are so crucial at school boy level. When we last reached the quarter-finals in 2019 and 2020 we had tough away draws against Campbell and Wallace. Your preparation is different, the environment is different and it all adds up.

“The familiarity and routine on Saturday morning will allow the boys to stay focused and relaxed up until kickoff. Then obviously the support from the home crowd will give us an extra lift too.”

And he is urging people to get out and get behind the team as they look to progress further in the competition.

“As always a big home crowd makes a huge difference in what is likely to be a very tight game so we would love the whole community to get behind the boys and turn out in numbers on Saturday morning and hopefully the boys can make a bit of history,” said Finlay.

ERGS defeated Friendly School to take their place in the last eight of the Schools’ Cup and Finlay says that they have worked hard since that in preparation for the Wallace encounter.

“The boys didn’t get ahead of themselves after the win. When we reflected on the Friends game we knew we were far from our best but cup rugby is about getting the win and moving on.

“We have identified a few key areas of improvement and have trained really well this past two weeks so we are in a good place at the minute,” he revealed.

And he reports a clean bill of health with injuries having cleared up for those players who missed the last round.

“Thankfully we have a full squad training at the minute, a few boys that missed the Friends game are back again and raring to go so we are happy about that.

“Hopefully we can get through the next few sessions injury free,” he concluded.