12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Ulster Schools Senior Cup Final Royal School Armagh v Campbell College, Ravenhill (3pm).
The last time Royal School Armagh came up smiling at the Ulster Schools Senior Cup final, in 1977, Brian McCall was their on-field general. McCall went on to wear the white of Ulster and the green of Ireland.
Now, his nephew, John, will captain the Royal School in today's annual climax against Campbell College at Ravenhill.
McCall, the younger, has also captained his province this season and he will be the focal point of their game plan, especially considering that Ulster Schools hooker Chris Knipe, in his second provincial season, has been ruled out of the Cup following a serious eye injury in the second round win over Methody.
McCall has been selected to represent Ireland in the FIRA Under 19s World Cup in South Africa and he will fly out with the rest of the squad next Monday. These are exciting times for the blindside.
Royal School also have Ulster Schools tight-head Richard Carlton and second row Jamie Cornett in their pack and an influential number eight in Edmund Orr. Their strength is with their big men.
In Ulster, there are four seeding positions available to the schools that have performed best in their pre-Christmas programmes. Royal School, bidding to bridge a 27 years gap, have already seen-off two of the other seeded teams in Methodist and Ballymena Academy.
Dave Egan shares the coaching duties with former Ireland three-quarter Kenny Hooks, whose cousin Michael will be in the centre. Egan said: The press would see us as slight favourites. We were seeded, along with Methody, Ballymena Academy and Royal School Dungannon.
We have quite a mature team. There are a good few level heads in the pack. They have reacted well to the loss of Chris Knipe. But, we will try to play an expansive game when we get good ball.
Campbell College have improved out of all recognition from their indifferent pre-Cup form. They do not include a single Ulster Schools inter-provincial and, subsequently, have bonded into a tight unit. It has been the team performance that has been our greatest strength. We consider that we have good, selfless players that work hard for each other, said coach John McKinney.
Campbell knocked out the seeded Royal School Dungannon in the quarter-final and easily outsmarted BRA in the last four. captain and number eight David Cobain will need a lot of assistance from his front row of Lucas Barker, Michael McCord and Andrew Lowry to combat Armagh's abrasive tight forwards.
Campbell will look to full back Robbie Boyd and wing Blair Clements as two of their better options out wide and out-half Greer Winnington has been kicking his goals.
Former Ireland number eight Brian Robinson is part of their coaching team and they will need all of his knowledge to counteract Royal School's power up front.
Campbell College:Robbie Boyd; Matthew Horner, Richard Dunlop, Andrew McCord, Blair Clements; Greer Winnington, David Creighton; Lucas Barker, Michael Bradford, Andrew Lowry, Peter Noble, Colin Marshall, David McIlveen, Philip Creed, David Cobain. Coaches: John McKinney, Brian Robinson. Captain: David Cobain. Path To The Final. First Round - bt Wellington College 41-0. Second Round - bt Coleraine Inst 27-10. Quarter-Final - bt Royal School Dungannon 15-10. Semi-Final - bt BRA 27-6.
Royal School Armagh: Sam Shepherd; Philip McAlister, Ethan Allan, Michael Hooks, Lee Ruddock; Jonathan Gillespie, Adam Bartholomew; Kristan Stinson, Richard Morton, Richard Carlton, Jamie Cornett, Jonathon Graham, John McCall, William Faloon, Edmund Orr. Coaches: Dave Egan, Kenny Hooks. Captain: John McCall. Path To The Final. Second Round - bt Methodist 8-0. Quarter-Final - bt RBAI 9-5. Semi-final - bt Ballymena Academy 16-10.