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Division One Previews: Do Or Die Time For UCD And Harlequins

Division One Previews: Do Or Die Time For UCD And Harlequins

Belfield looks like being the place to be on Saturday afternoon as UCD and Belfast Harlequins scrap for their lives to avoid the drop down to Division Two. Depending on the result and those elsewhere, bonus points could still enter the relegation equation so make sure to bring your calculator!

LANSDOWNE v BUCCANEERS, Donnybrook, 2.30pm
Referee: Leo Colgan (Munster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: Played 8, Lansdowne Won 3, Buccaneers 5; At Lansdowne Road: Played 3, Lansdowne Won 2, Buccaneers Won 1

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Last Match: AIB League Division One – October 29, 2005 – Buccaneers 17 Lansdowne 0, Dubarry Park

2006/07 AIB League Form (most recent match on the left): Lansdowne: WLWLL; Buccaneers: LLLLL

Lansdowne – Notes: * They are currently seventh in the Division One table. This is the last of their two home games against Connacht opposition this season
* So far this season, they have won six of their seven home matches in the AIB League
* They have played eight AIB League fictures at home to clubs from Connacht and lost only one of those games
* They moved up two places in the table after their win over Dolphin last time out. Although, they have lost their last four league games against Buccaneers
* Their captain David Lavin will be playing against one of his former clubs this weekend
* Their only home loss in the league this season was against Terenure College (7-3) on January 20
* As reconstruction work has commenced at Lansdowne Road, they will play this weekend’s clash at Donnybrook and use the Old Wesley clubhouse for their pre-match lunch

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Robbie Dolan 105
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Gavin O’Meara 5

Buccaneers – Notes: * They are currently sixteenth and last in the Division One table. This is their last of three trips to Leinster this season
* So far this season, they have won one and drawn one of their seven away matches in the AIB League. They have played 40 AIB League matches away in Leinster and won 14 of those games
* They have scored the least tries (13) in Division One since October. They are the only Division One club yet to collect a bonus point for tries scores so far this season
* They won 17-16 on their most recent league visit to face Lansdowne in Dublin (March 2005)
* They have failed to beat the five other Leinster clubs in the AIB League this season
* They have lost their last seven Division One games
* They have kicked the most (34) and conceded the most (28) penalty goals in Division One since October. Their defeat to UCD last time out saw them relegated to Division Two after nine seasons in the top flight

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Tom Cregan 132
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Tom Cregan 3

SHANNON v DOLPHIN, Coonagh, 2.30pm
Referee: John Carvill (Leinster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: Played 2, Shannon Won 2, Dolphin Won 0; At Thomond Park: Played 2, Shannon Won 2, Dolphin Won 0

Last Match: No match played last season at Dolphin were in Division Two

2006/07 AIB League Form (most recent match on the left): Shannon: WWLWW; Dolphin: LLLLW

Shannon – Notes: * They are currently fourth in the Division One table. This is their last of two home games against Munster clubs this season
* So far this season, they won won five of their seven matches at home in the AIB League
* They have played 30 AIB League fixtures at home to clubs from Munster and won 19 of those games. They are on a hat-trick of league wins over Dolphin this weekend
* They have not played AIB League rugby against Dolphin during the past two season. They have yet to beat a Munster club in Division One this season
* They are presently equal on league points with fifth-placed Garryowen (43 points), but 35 points better off than their Limerick rivals on points scoring difference
* Munster have no game this weekend so Shannon will be at full strength in accordance with the new AIB League regulations
* They cannot expect Galwegians to be ultra competitive at Dooradoyle so they must aim for the security of a bonus point win this weekend

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Andrew Thompson 93
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Sean Cronin 7

Dolphin – Notes: * They are currently thirteenth in the Division One table. This is their only game on the road in Munster this season
* So far this season, they have won just two of their seven away matches in the AIB League
* They have played 27 AIB League fixtures on the road in Munster and won 14 of those games
* They have yet to be given the opportunity of play Shannon in league competition at home in Musgrave Park. They first played AIB League rugby against Shannon during the 1997/98 season
* They have lost their last four league games and have been beaten by the three other Munster clubs in Division One already this season
* Even with Munster players Tomas O’Leary and James Coughlan on board, they seem to have little chance of winning this weekend
* Will be carefully monitoring proceedings at Belfield where they hope Belfast Harlequins win. If not, relegation could even come down to the number of tries scored

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Barry Keeshan 117
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Eric Moloney 5

TERENURE COLLEGE v ST. MARY’S COLLEGE, Lakelands Park, 3pm
Referee: Darragh McCormack (Munster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: Played 8, Terenure College Won 4, St. Mary’s College Won 4; At Lakelands Park: Played 3, Terenure College Won 2, St. Mary’s College Won 1

Last Match: No match played last season as Terenure College were in Division Two

2006/07 AIB League Form (most recent match on the left): Terenure College: LLWWW; St. Mary’s College: DWWLW

Terenure College – Notes: * They are currently ninth in the Division One table. This is their last of three home matches against Leinster clubs this season
* So far this season, they have won four of their seven home games in the AIB League. This weekend’s clash marks their 75th AIB League fixture against a Leinster club and they have enjoyed a 47% success rate so far
* They have won four and lost four of their previous eight league tussles with St. Mary’s College. They have lost their last three Division One matches with St. Mary’s
* They last played AIB League rugby against St. Mary’s during the 2002/03 season and lost 38-23 at Templeville Road
* They have yet to win at home against Leinster opposition in this season’s league
* They have kicked the least penalty goals (11) in Division One so far this term
* This weekend’s match marks their 213th AIB League fixture. Kick-off is at 3pm as Terenure are hosting a monster lunch with a huge marquee erected in the car park

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Robbie McCarthy 47
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Alex Dunlop 8

St. Mary’s College – Notes: * They are currently tenth in the Division One table. This is their last of three games on the road in Leinster this season
* So far this season, they have won one and drawn two of their seven away matches in the AIB League. Like Terenure, they will also be playing their 75th league fixture against a Leinster club but they have enjoyed a 61% success rate
* They won 30-24 on their most recent league visit across the parish in September 2001. Bragging rights are at stake this weekend across the Dublin 6W parish
* They first played AIB League rugby against Terenure during the 1996/97 campaign
* They have lost only one of their last six AIB League games on the road in Leinster
* This weekend also marks their 213th game in AIB League history
* On offer will be the Dr. Michael Smyth Memorial Trophy, which was first played for in September 2001. To date, St. Mary’s have captured the trophy on four occasions, while Terenure have won it just once and never at Lakelands

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Jonathan Sexton 114
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Ronan Doherty, Jonathan Sexton 4 each

UCD v BELFAST HARLEQUINS, Belfield, 2.30pm
Referee: George Clancy (Munster)

Previous AIB League Meetings: Played 5, UCD Won 0, Belfast Harlequins 5; At Belfield: Played 2, UCD Won 0, Belfast Harlequins Won 2

Last Match: AIB League Division One – October 29, 2005 – Belfast Harlequins 13 UCD 8, Deramore Park

2006/07 AIB League Form (most recent match on the left): UCD: WLLWL; Belfast Harlequins: WWLWW

UCD – Notes: * They are currently fifteenth in the Division One table. This is their last of two home games against Ulster clubs this season
* So far this season, they have won one and drawn one of their six home games in the AIB League
* They have played 25 AIB League fixtures at home to Ulster opposition and won 16 of those games. They have the most negative tries differential (-22) in Division One at the moment
* They first played Belfast Harlequins in March 2000 and lost 21-20 in what was a Division Two tie played at Belfield
* They have collected a losing bonus point in their last three league games with Harlequins
* The vultures are hovering and a number of UCD players have been earmarked for recruitment by other Leinster clubs
* The bottom line is that the students must win to survive in Division One

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Fergus McFadden 132
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Ian Keatley 5

Belfast Harlequins – Notes: * They are currently fourteenth in the Division One table. This is their last of three away matches in Leinster this season
* So far this season, they have won two of their seven away games in the AIB League. This weekend’s game is their 25th league fixture away in Leinster and they are seeking their 17th victory
* They have the best record – playing away in Leinster in the league – of all the Ulster clubs
* They have scored the least points (183) in Division One after 14 rounds of action. They have won all five league games they have played with UCD and are this weekend on a hat-trick of wins at Belfield
* They won 22-17 on their most recent league visit to UCD (March 2005). They have also won five of their last six Division One games
* They lost the AIB Cup final – 20-7 – to Garryowen at Dubarry Park last Saturday
* They will avoid relegation (and send UCD down) if they win this Saturday. If they lose, bonus points will be crucial and the games at Coonagh and Temple Hill will enter the relegation equation. Time to get the calculators out!

Top Points Scorer in the AIB League: Niall O’Connor 100
Top Try Scorer in the AIB League: Chris McCarey 3

– AIB League statistics supplied by Des Daly