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AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, December 12

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated -

Belfast Harlequins (9th) v Terenure (10th), Deramore Park

Harlequins came close to toppling Lansdowne last weekend but lost out by a single point, picking up their third loss in-a-row albeit with their third losing bonus point.

This home game against Terenure therefore represents a chance to get back to the winning ways that saw them undefeated in their first three games.

Their Dublin visitors may bring a coach-load of fans with the lure of shopping and rugby proving a heady mix! On the pitch 'Nure will be looking to build on their home win against Malone last weekend but this should go the way of the Belfast club.

De La Salle Palmerston (2nd) v Thomond (6th), Kirwan Park, 2pm

Lansdowne aside, it really is tight in Division 2. There are just two points between these two sides. Thomond do have a game in hand against Clonakilty so they will see this game as a real target.

This one will be won up front and both sides will bring a big heart and lots of endeavour to this game.

'Salmo drew with Bruff last weekend and lost to third-placed Old Wesley before that, so they will want to get back in the van in what promises to be a gritty encounter at Kirwan Park on Saturday.

Dublin University (11th) v Bruff (4th), College Park, 2.20pm

The Trinity side are looking a bit lacklustre this season and seem destined for the dog fight in the lower reaches of the table in a few months' time.

One win in six games is poor return but four losing bonus points suggests that they could improve and luck has not been on the students' side in recent games.

Bruff will probably prove too strong for the students this weekend. A draw with De La Salle Palmerston last Saturday and win over 'Quins before that has shown their intent to be in the play-off and promotion mix come season end. An away win is on the cards here.

Highfield (12th) v Greystones (16th), Woodleigh Park

This is all about survival of the fittest. One win apiece and Highfield's draw with Thomond are the high water mark of the season so far.

The Cork side will see this as a chance to climb out of any immediate danger, while 'Stones badly need a win to get them off the bottom of the table.

Both sides are rooted in their locale so expect two vocal sets of supporters at Woodleigh Park on Saturday and a win for the home side.

Lansdowne (1st) v Corinthians (8th), The RDS

Harlequins are the only side to get close to Lansdowne so far this season, coming within a point of them last weekend.

The Dublin side look unbeatable but there is always a potential banana skin of a game when you least expect it.
Corinthians are mid-table and yet only two points behind DLSP in second, showing just how tight this division is.

The Galway side struggled to subdue Trinity last weekend and took a beating from Old Wesley before that. The RDS is fast becoming fortress Lansdowne and this weekend looks like adding to that unbeaten record.

Malone (13th) v Clonakilty (15th), Gibson Park

Another red zone dog fight with both sides on one win. Clon's slim advantage of a game in hand is negated by the fact that it is against Thomond.

A long trek for the West Cork side but the bus should be bolstered by a few Saturday shoppers with an eye for a bargain and tough game of rugby.

This looks set for a home win as Malone have made some higher-placed teams work hard for the points and they should have enough quality to handle the Clon challenge at Gibson Park.

Old Wesley (3rd) v Old Crescent (14th), Donnybrook

Old Wesley's four wins and three try bonuses see them sitting nicely in third place. The Dublin 4 side lost to Lansdowne and stuttered to a lacklustre loss to Terenure back in October.

They have scored over 30 points in each of their last two games and seem set to continue the form which saw them crowned Division 3 champions last season.

By contrast, Old Crescent are another side struggling in the bottom half of the table with a win over Terenure their sole one of the season. That aside, they have come close against Bective and Bruff, proving they still have an edge to their game that cannot be taken lightly.

UCD (5th) v Bective Rangers (7th), Belfield

A classic Dublin derby to round off the pre Christmas AIB League action for these two sides. UCD's second try bonus is the only thing separating these sides in the table.

This is the perfect game for both clubs to set a marker with the winner able to look forward to Christmas nicely placed in the upper end of the table. A loss, of course, will make for a nervy time and probably a few tough post Christmas training sessions.

A difficult one to call with both UCD and Bective coming in on the back of a win last weekend, albeit that Rangers only narrowly beat Highfield and lost to Lansdowne prior to that. On that slight difference in form, a home win could be on the cards.

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20 June 2018
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