There is a well-established rugby tradition at Friends’ School with the coaching staff giving up a considerable amount of time both after school and on Saturdays to develop the individual and team skills of the players at all age levels. Each new season brings new team members and new challenges, with every coach and team looking for ways to improve and move forward.
Friend’s School field seven rugby teams from 1st XV to U12s on a regular basis playing Saturday fixtures against comparable Ulster schools while midweek fixtures are organised for “B” teams and the 3rd XV.
Head of PE and Rugby Co-ordinator, Mr Monaghan (U13 and U12) is assisted by Mr Robinson and Mr Gamble (Senior squads); Mr Williamson (Medallion), Mr Patterson (U14s), and Mr Jamison (U12s). School staff are assisted by external coaches Mr Aaron Cairns (Seniors), Mr M Rodgers (Medallion) and Conal Boomer (Juniors) while past pupils continue to contribute to the coaching of rugby at all levels in Friends’ School. Staff involved are IRFU Associate Referees or members of the Ulster Branch Referees Association and have undergone Child Protection Training.
Year 8 boys participate in rugby during games mornings (opting for rugby or hockey in November), extra-curricular practice and Saturday morning matches. U13, U14 and Medallion squads have a games afternoon as well as two after school practice while the Senior squad train on Monday and Thursday alongside Wednesday Games.
Senior Players have access to a state of the art fitness suite and outdoor conditioning equipment and are encouraged to follow a training programme best suited to their individual needs.
The 1st XV, 2nd XV and Medallion XV all enter the various Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ cup/ Shield competitions during the second term with the respective draws taking place in November.
Past pupil, British Lion and Ireland player Stephen Ferris maintains his links with school by attending different events and training session. Friends’ School annually have players in attendance at the various Ulster Regional Development Squads and hope to continue this trend for the years ahead.
Touring and rugby development play an integral part of Friends’ rugby at all levels and both junior and senior tours have in the past laid firm foundations for solid and successful seasons.