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Division Three Semi-Final Preview: Bruff v Banbridge

Division Three Semi-Final Preview: Bruff v Banbridge

Banbridge will make their debut in the AIB League play-offs on Saturday by paying a trip to Kilballyowen Park to face Bruff, the only unbeaten team this season across all three divisions.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION THREE SEMI-FINAL: Saturday, April 12

BRUFF v BANBRIDGE, Kilballyowen Park, 2.30pm
Referee: Darragh McCormack (Munster)

Previous League Meetings: 4 (Bruff won 3, drawn 1); At Kilballyowen Park: 1 (Bruff won 1)

This Season: Saturday, March 29, 2008 – Banbridge 0 Bruff 22, Rifle Park

Recent League Form: Bruff (most recent games on left hand side): WWWDW
Banbridge: LWWWL

Bruff – Notes: * Bruff finished first in the Division Three table and were promoted. They played 15 matches in the regulation phase, won 14 and drew 1 (points difference +286)
* This is their fourth home game against an Ulster club this season. The story at home in Division Three this season is played 7 matches and won all 7
* They have previously played 12 AIB League fixtures at home to clubs from Ulster and won seven of these games
* They have conceded the least points (56) and the least tries (6) across all three divisions this season. They also kicked the least penalty goals (8) during the regulation Division Three campaign
* They were the only unbeaten club in all three divisions during the AIB League’s regulation phase this term
* They have won their last nine home matches in Division Three and they established a new club AIB League record with 16 consecutive wins up to February 9 of this season
* All of 15 different Bruff players scored tries for the club in this season’s AIB League. They played three Ulster clubs in Limerick this season and won all three games
* The reigning Division Three play-off champions, Bruff have made the play-offs twice before – in 2005/06 when they lost 24-3 at Clonakilty and last season when they won 29-3 at Ballynahinch before beating Wanderers 18-12 in the final

Top Points Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Brian Cahill 91 points

Top Try Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Brendan Deady 8 tries, Finbarr Hogan 6 tries

Banbridge – Notes: * Banbridge finished fourth in the Division Three table. They played 15 matches in the regulation phase, won 11 and lost 4 (points difference +106)
* This is the club’s fourth visit to Munster this season. The story on the road in Division Three this term is played 8, won 6 and lost 2. They have previously played 16 AIB League games away in Munster and won eight of these encounters
* They are one of three Ulster clubs to make the Division Three play-offs this season. They have not managed a victory in four previous Division Three meetings with Bruff
* Like their opponents this weekend, they scored far more tries (40) than penalty goals (17) during their league campaign
* They have played away in Munster three times already this season and won on each occasion
* They have just completed eight seasons in Division Three without gaining promotion. They won five games on the trot midway through the Division Three season just finished
* They are coached this season by South African Andre Bester
* Like Queen’s University in the other semi-final, they have not featured in the play-offs before

Top Points Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Neville Farr 45 points, Richard Finlay 41 points

Top Try Scorers In 2007/08 AIB League: Claude Crawford and Jeff Dodds 7 tries each

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Bruff to win by more than 10 points