All eyes may on Croke Park this Saturday and Sunday as the Irish sporting public cheer on the national sides, but why not kick off your rugby weekend on Saturday afternoon with a visit to your local club?
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, November 14
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Belfast Harlequins (3rd) v Bruff (6th), Deramore Park
Belfast Harlequins were knocked out of the AIB Cup last weekend and they also lost their previous league outing to Bective so they will have a real incentive to get back to winning ways. Bruff are only a point behind them in the table and come into the game on the back of a good win over UCD last time out in the league.
Dublin University (14th) v Greystones (13th), College Park
The students are without a win so far in the league, while Greystones have only managed one win in four. That win came against second-from-bottom Malone last time out. Both sides badly need a win to kickstart their seasons and pull them out of the red zone.
Highfield (11th) v De La Salle Palmerston (4th), Woodleigh Park
Home advantage will need to tell for Highfield if they are to take anything from this game. ‘Salmo have already scored over 100 points this season with three wins out of four, and South African half-back Dustin Jinka keeping them ticking. Their only loss was in their last game against Wesley. Highfield drew with Thomond last time out and their sole win has come against Malone.
Lansdowne (1st) v Bective (5th), The RDS
You cannot beat a local derby on a Saturday afternoon and this one pitches the undefeated Lansdowne against near neighbours Bective in the wonderful arena of the RDS. The Donnybrook side have only lost once and that with a bonus point defeat, but they are still six points behind table toppers Lansdowne, who will be eager to banish memories of their AIB Cup exit at the hands of Blackrock. This could be a cracker.
Malone (15th) v Thomond (2nd), Gibson Park
Malone have squeezed two losing bonus points out of their four games so far and could have wished for an easier prospect than the gritty Munster side they will face in Gibson Park on Saturday. Thomond have only lost one game so far and will be aiming to keep up the chase on Lansdowne at the top of the table.
Old Crescent (16th) v Terenure College (9th), Rosbrien
Crescent have yet to pick up a win and look set to struggle this season and this match does not offer an easy target. Terenure are mid table with two wins out of four but both their losses have come against higher-placed sides including leaders Lansdowne. ‘Nure will be hoping to celebrate the recent Services to Rugby award received by one of the club’s most famous sons, Patrick ‘Rala’ O’Reilly, the long-serving Ireland bagman.
Old Wesley (10th) v Corinthians (7th), Donnybrook
Three places and four points separate these sides and this looks an evenly matched game between the two sides promoted from Division 3 last season. Corinthians topped Division 3 but Old Wesley went on to win the play-off title and there is plenty to play for in this rematch.
UCD (8th) v Clonakilty (12th), Belfield
All square for the students with two wins and two losses to date. Mid table with nine points separating them from top spot and eight from bottom. They come into this game having lost to Garryowen in the AIB Cup last weekend. In comparison, Clonakilty, whose Tongan out-half Kurt Morath faces Ireland ‘A’ on Friday, have struggled in their first few games but will be hoping for a Dublin student double having beaten Dublin University last time out.