MUSSELBURGH'S Loretto School have been disqualified from Scottish Rugby's National Schools' Shield at under-16s' level after fielding an overage player against North Berwick in last weekend's semi-final.

Loretto won Saturday's encounter 10-0 but, following a complaint from North Berwick, the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) has expelled them from the competition.

Ken Muir, head of youth rugby at North Berwick, said: "We believe that it was an innocent mistake.

"But because it was an overage player involved we thought it was necessary to appeal."

The SRU has now confirmed that North Berwick will instead progress to next week's final.

Caitlin Gould, rugby development communications manager at the SRU said today: "Following on from the fixture at the weekend, a complaint was raised to the competitions team at Scottish Rugby as per the schools and youth rules and regulations.

"The committee, having met last night, made the decision to disqualify Loretto from the U16 Shield competition for a breach of the competition rules and regulations."

A Loretto School spokesperson said: "On Saturday in the Shield Cup U16 semi-final, following a last-minute team change, Loretto School fielded a player outside the age banding. 

"This was a genuine oversight by the school and Loretto respects the decision of the SRU investigation. All at Loretto wish North Berwick every success in the final."

Mr Muir was pleased for the North Berwick youngsters but also felt sorry for the Loretto players that will miss out.

He said said: "I'm delighted for the boys: they'll get their opportunity to play at Murrayfield in the final.

"We hold nothing against Loretto, nor the player involved, but having overage players can cause serious incidents in age-group rugby."

North Berwick High School will now play Queen Victoria School, from Dunblane, in the final next Wednesday (March 9) at 2.30pm at the DAM Health Stadium, the new home of Edinburgh Rugby, adjacent to Murrayfield Stadium.