Coleraine rugby is gearing up for three very important matches on Saturday and uniquely the same coach has masterminded two of those campaigns.
Richard Beggs is head coach of both local sides – Coleraine Rugby Club First XV in the Towns Cup and Coleraine Academical Institution First XV in the Schools Cup - and of course ex-Coleraine Mini Section and Coleraine Inst man Andrew Trimble is in the Ireland squad to face England the same day, and he wants as many people as possible to come along and cheer all the teams on, starting at the CAI playing fields and the Schools Cup.
Richard said: “There is a real buzz in school at the moment, everyone in school is talking about the game.
“We know it is going to be really tough. Ballyclare High School were finalists last year and there are still a lot of that team available, which will give them valuable experience in these latter stages of the competition.
“Having said that, we beat them just before Christmas but it was a tight game. For now we have the advantage of a home draw, which is always great, and the rest is up to us on the day. We are fairly confident but we realise we have a very hard match in front of us. Ballyclare have had a few good results lately so they will also be confident and going all out for a win.
“The boys are all up for it and really looking forward to the game. It kicks off about 10.30am and we invite friends, family and everyone to come along and support us.”
Richard will then race from the school to the club at Rugby Avenue for the second part of the day’s events.
Coleraine face Clogher Valley in the Towns Cup quarter-final and they are relishing the home draw. Richard said on Saturday: “Clogher Valley hammered us earlier in the season in the league. We were close at half time but in the second half we went down to 14 men and they stuck 17 points on in that ten minutes, something we couldn’t come back from.
“We are not afraid of them despite their position in the league and we have shown since Christmas just what we can achieve on the pitch. On the team, we should have an almost full strength pack and most of our backline are there as well. That is very important as we get ready for the game.”
There is a positive attitude in the Coleraine camp. Richard said: “We approach the game with a certain amount of confidence. We know and believe we are a match for any team in the Junior league when we have our best side out and we are approaching the game in that light.
“We are very excited. It’s a big day for the school and the club and one I hope will produce a big support for both games and see both teams progress.”