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.
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated -
DUNGANNON (6th) v BUCCANEERS (2nd), Stevenson Park, 2pm
Ulster Bank League Season's Form - Dungannon: LLWWWLLWLLW; Buccaneers: WWLWWWWWLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers - Dungannon: Points: Paddy Jackson 70; Tries: Conor Gaston 5; Buccaneers: Points: Adam Kennedy 53; Tries: John O'Brien 7
Preview: This is a huge encounter for Dungannon and Buccaneers with only two more round of games to go after this weekend. Interestingly, it has also turned into a back-to-back fixture as these sides meet again in the penultimate round at Dubarry Park.
Dungannon enjoyed an important home win over Bruff last weekend to push them a point ahead with a game in hand over the Limerick club. A win of any kind at Stevenson Park would make that lead more secure.
Buccaneers have not won since early February and their second place is now hanging by a thread. They really need to get back to the kind of form that put them near the top of the table.
Most Recent Meetings - Saturday, November 14, 2009: Dungannon 27 Buccaneers 3, Stevenson Park; Saturday, February 20, 2010: Buccaneers 15 Dungannon 10, Dubarry Park
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 1-5 points
Ballymena (5th) v Thomond (16th), Eaton Park, 2pm
An interesting match this one. Ballymena have two games in hand over fellow promotion hopefuls Belfast Harlequins and Bective Rangers. A win at Eaton Park on Saturday would see them move into the automatic promotion spot.
Visitors Thomond are in a bind. They are almost certainly better than their current low ranking suggests but they keep leaking points. Can they come out fighting? A win here would put them level on points with Clonakitly and give them a fighting chance of survival.
Ballymena lost out last weekend to leaders UCD, but then so has everyone else in this division so far, and they still look the likely winners on Saturday.
Corinthians (6th) v UCD (1st), Corinthian Park
Corinthians' single point win over Terenure College last weekend saw them move into sixth place and with this one game in hand, they still have a shot at promotion.
The problem is their game in hand is against the only team unbeaten in the division and the entire Ulster Bank League.
UCD have seen off all comers, home and away, but they still cannot shake off the chase from Ballynahinch. There will be no let up in intensity from the Belfield side but a winning run has to end at some stage - will it be Saturday? The odds are against it, but you never know...
De La Salle Palmerston (11th) v Ballynahinch (2nd), Kirwan Park
Not a vintage season for De La Salle Palmerston and they have not managed to string together the type of results that saw them do well last season.
Their 23-point win over Malone was only their fourth of the campaign, but they have still managed to notch two try-scoring bonus points and two losing bonuses.
On Saturday they face the other form team in the division. Ballynahinch have lost just once and they bring a big game to Kirwan Park.
Eight try-scoring bonus points sees the County Down outfit just a point off the top spot and another big win could prove crucial as they bid to take the title back to Ballymacarn Park.
NUIM Barnhall (11th) v Suttonians (12th), Parsonstown
Not much at stake here beyond the result and club pride, but it is a Leinster derby and it is Kildare against Dublin so it will not lack for internsity.
Suttonians lost to Seapoint last weekend but had a big win over Sunday's Well the week before. Barnhall nearly brought Rainey's late season surge to an end last time out but were beaten by Wanderers prior to that.
A consistent run of form has been the problem for both sides but Saturday afternoon offers a chance for some points and a better position in the table.
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