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Rugby Shorts: November 21

Rugby Shorts: November 21

‘A’ Interprovincial…Celtic League Fixture Changes…AIB Cup Fixtures Confirmed…Ulster Senior Cup Draw…

‘A’ INTERPROVINCIAL: Connacht’s ‘A’ team will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten run over the recent run of ‘A’ Interprovincial fixtures. The westerners beat Ulster 15-6 last week in Ballina and take the trip down to Thomond Park in Limerick today to face Munster ‘A’ (kick-off 2.00pm).

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Connacht’s new Tongan centre Andrew Mailei is unlikely to play after lasting the full 80 minutes in Saturday’s 43-8 loss to France in Toulouse, but Kiwi centre Gavin Williams – son of former All Black legend Bryan Williams – will start alongside former Ireland Under-21 John Hearty in the visitors’ midfield.

CELTIC LEAGUE FIXTURE CHANGES: Celtic Rugby and their Broadcast Partners – BBC Wales, S4C and Setanta Sports – have agreed details for the televised Celtic League games scheduled for January and February 2006.

In all, nine games will be broadcast live from rounds 12, 13 and 14 in the regular Friday night and Saturday evening slots in Wales, with Setanta Ireland and Scotland also broadcasting selected fixtures on Saturday afternoons and evenings.

Details of the televised fixtures in Rounds 15-18 will be released in early January.

ROUND 12 – Newport Gwent Dragons v Connacht: Friday 6 January, 7.10pm – BBC Wales; Llanelli Scarlets v Leinster: Saturday 7 January, 5.30pm – S4C; Edinburgh Gunners v Munster: Saturday 7 January, 7.30pm – Setanta Scotland; Ulster v Glasgow Warriors: Saturday 7 January, 3.30pm – Setanta Ireland.

ROUND 13 – Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh Gunners: Friday 27 January, 7.10pm – BBC Wales; Munster v Newport Gwent Dragons: Saturday 28 January, 5.30pm – Setanta Ireland & S4C.

ROUND 14 – Newport Gwent Dragons v Leinster: Saturday 18 February, 5.30pm – S4C; Ospreys v Border Reivers: Friday 17 February, 7.10pm – BBC Wales; Munster v Glasgow Warriors: Saturday 18 February, 3.30pm – Setanta Ireland.

AIB CUP FIXTURES CONFIRMED: With the conclusion of the First Trust Bank Ulster Senior League, the full line-up of the teams for the inaugural AIB Cup competition has been confirmed. Malone, having finished fourth in the Ulster league, will face Terenure College in next month’s opening round.

Fixtures – Preliminary Round – Sat, Nov 26: Buccaneers v Ballymena, Dubarry Park, 7.30pm

First Round – Sat, Dec 17: Belfast Harlequins v Suttonians, Deramore Park; Clontarf v Dungannon, Castle Avenue; De La Salle Palmerston v Winner Buccaneers/Ballymena, Kilternan; Dolphin v Garryowen, Musgrave Park; Galwegians v Cashel, Crowley Park; Greystones v St Mary’s College, Dr Hickey Park; Terenure College v Malone, Lakelands Park (all kick-offs, 2.00pm)

Sun, Dec 18: Shannon v Cork Constitution, Thomond Park, 2.00pm

ULSTER SENIOR CUP DRAW: The draw for the First Trust Bank Ulster Senior Cup has taken place.

The opening round of fixtures, which takes place on Saturday, December 31 (venues, kick-offs tbc), is as follows:

Belfast Harlequins v Queen’s University, Dungannon v Instonians, Ballymena v Portadown.

Byes: Malone, Ards, Ballynahinch, Banbridge and City of Derry.