Pieter Swanepoel hails long overdue triumph for Roscrea

The celebrations – which you suspect could last for a while — began for students, staff and former pupils in the heart of Dublin last night as Cistercian College Roscrea lapped up their new-found status as Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup champions with an overnight stay in the capital.

Head coach Pieter Swanepoel struggled to contain his excitement as he described the long-awaited triumph at the RDS Arena and said the importance of the win could take a week or more to sink in.

But number eight hero and one of the two try scorers, Dan Trayers, summed up what it meant to all and sundry down south in Roscrea.

“We have been getting texts and messages of support all week from former pupils, it was a huge spur to us, it’s brilliant,” he said.

Swanepoel gushed as he watched his side come of age and said Trayers was one of a number of players with a bright future. The number eight was delighted too that his try helped fashion the triumph but insisted it was a team win, and the quality of a crucial second half try was certainly indicative of that.

Having beaten Wesley College, Blackrock College and Newbridge with heavy use of a dominant pack, Roscrea had to do a bit of a double-take yesterday for they were matched by a determined Belvedere College forward unit. “Our pack was normally the stronger point of our game but we always knew we had good backs also and it was nice to see that the backs took it in their hands and made it easier for the forwards this time. Because we have had such a strong pack this year, people might have been looking away from the backs, but today was a perfect game for rugby and it allowed us to mix up our play,” said Swanepoel.

Was there any worry that his players might bottle it given the weight of tradition against them?

No, insisted the coach. “I suppose when you have small margins it always comes into your mind, but when you see the tackles they brought off at the end then we knew the belief was there.”

There were regrets for sure, but no complaints from magnanimous Belvedere coach Phil Werahiko.

“It wasn’t the result we wanted of course, but you have to give credit to Roscrea. They didn’t get off to a particularly good start but they stuck at it and just controlled the ball better than we did, they found field position more readily and with their strong forward pack that was something we had wanted to avoid.

“The last few games we had managed to get out of the blocks pretty quickly but (in that second half) today we found ourselves having to chase the game and it added more pressure on the players when they were trying to control (things), we weren’t able to do that and Roscrea were rewarded with their effort in the final few minutes.”


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