Ethan hopes Bann presence is a harbinger for success

Banbridge Rugby Club will have all eyes on this afternoon’s big game with two of the RBAI side’s players also stoked in Bann history.

Rathfriland lad Ethan Harbinson will be going all out for victory today.

Ethan Harbinson and Jake Chambers both have huge family ties at the club and Ethan knows the support of the local side is behind them as they take on Wallace.

He said: “Jake has an even stronger contingent of Banbridge people behind him but we’ve both had nothing but well-wishes from everyone at the club. It’s been so nice to have everyone at the club and everyone in our home Town behind us.”

Harbinson is enjoying his first and last year at RBAI, having studied and played at Banbridge Academy up until this year.

“I was asked by both Methody and Inst to go up to their schools after they saw me playing in the Schools’ Cup,” he said.

“Hugo (Harbinson - brother) was playing for Banbridge at the time and Mr Soper was very keen for me to head up to Inst. He showed me round the school and I was nothing but impressed. I can honestly say it’s one of the best moves I’ve made, at least in rugby. Everything is done to such a high standard. I only have positive things to say about the school.

“I’ve enjoyed every second of the rugby and I can honestly say I’ve never felt more welcome or more part of a community.”

The moved has proved to be the right one as Inst have shone on the pitch and Harbinson is now dreaming of ending his schools’ career on the perfect note at Ravenhill.

“This is my last year so it’s my last chance to win,” he said. “It’s the ideal game to play in my last game for the school.

“The semi was the first time I had played at Ravenhill but will be interesting playing there in the final with both sides of the ground open. In the semi, there was only one stand open so it will be amazing to see an even bigger crowd there this time.”

Ethan is hopeful that his side have what it takes to ensure Inst win the trophy for the 30th time.

“If we function as a team like we have done, our defence stands up and we can finish our moves, we have a chance,” he said.

“Our draw against them is the tightest game we’ve played this season. It will come down to first tackles and I think our defence is 100 times better than it was during that first game against Wallace.”

“Our style of play in the antithesis of Methody’s style of play, which Wallace beat in the semis. Wallace play a lot like Methody so I think we’re well geared up to counteract the way they play.

My entire role is about the break-down play at number seven and I think in every game we’ve played so far, we’ve come out on top of the break-down. We’re still yet to concede a try in this year’s competition.

“That would be a nice stat to hold on to during the final.”