5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland Under-19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday week (December 14) has been announced.
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated -
BUCCANEERS v LANSDOWNE, Dubarry Park (back pitch)
Preview: A good test for a Lansdowne side that ran away with the Division 2 title last season. They have a huge amount of top quality players to choose from, and new signings Eoghan Hickey, Ciaran O'Boyle, John Cooney, Jordi Murphy and Tom Sexton will be eager to impress.
That said, Lansdowne are sure to find life in Division 1B a lot more difficult, and their recent form has included Leinster Senior League Cup losses at the hands of Blackrock College and Old Wesley.
Buccaneers, who beat Garryowen 31-22 in a friendly last weekend, can normally be relied upon to give a decent account of themselves at Dubarry Park.
Buccs have been getting through plenty of hard work under new coach Hendre Marnitz, with his fresh approach to the players' liking. Hooker Garreth Halligan is captain for the second year, and the Pirates boast a squad that now includes classy finisher Shane Monahan.
Last Season's Meetings - Lansdowne were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win by 1-5 points
CLONTARF v BRUFF, Castle Avenue
Preview: This has the potential to be a cracking match between two very competitive sides. Clontarf are certain to be one of the leading contenders in this division after their relegation from the top flight last season.
'Tarf recruited well in the summer, bringing in backs coach Justin Wilson and Dolphin duo Sam Cronin and Barry O'Mahony, along with former Leinster lock Ben Gissing and centre Evan Ryan, who captained Cork Constitution to the title last May. Their early season run of matches included victories over Dublin University and UCD.
But they will face a very determined Bruff outfit who provided themselves with a tremendous boost by defeating Shannon 21-14 in the Munster Senior Cup last Saturday.
The Limerick men have a tremendously committed and skilful squad at their disposal, with potential match winners in the likes of Brendan Deady, Brian Cahill and John Shine.
Last Season's Meetings - Clontarf were in Division 1A, and Bruff were in Division 2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Clontarf to win by 6-10 points
UCC v DUNGANNON, the Mardyke
Preview: Remarkably, Dungannon are now the only team from Ulster in either of the top two divisions.
It will be interesting to see how they get on as UCC showed themselves to be a very useful outfit last season. And they are generally very hard to overcome at the Mardyke.
Last season, the Cork students did the double over Dungannon, but the Tyrone side seem to have a new lease of life under newly-appointed director of rugby Justin Fitzpatrick and player-coach Kieran Campbell.
'Gannon have scored some big wins in the Ulster Senior League (42-12 against Queen's University and 64-14 against Rainey Old Boys), while UCC, whose squad has been somewhat depleted, were beaten by Queen's in last weekend's Dudley Cup.
Last Season's Meetings - Saturday, October 31, 2009: UCC 20 Dungannon 3, Stevenson Park; Saturday, January 23, 2010: Dungannon 3 UCC 21, Stevenson Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 6-10 points
UL BOHEMIANS v GALWEGIANS, Thomond Park
Preview: Much is expected of UL Bohemians, following their excellent 27-20 Munster Senior Cup victory over Young Munster last Saturday.
They appear to have made a very good signing in the former St. Mary's player Stuart O'Flanagan. So far, he has landed 10 out of 11 of his place-kicks, and their pack boasts some talented Munster youngsters.
Galwegians recently lost their Connacht Senior League crown, going down 20-6 to Buccaneers in the decider.
Provincial players Liam Bibo, Darragh Fanning, Dermot Murphy and Dave Nolan have seen early season action for 'Wegians, with wily full-back/winger John Cleary continuing to pose a scoring threat.
Last Season's Meetings - UL Bohemians were in Division 1A
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win by 6-10 points