Semi-final time in Division 2 of the AIB League and the form book says Lansdowne and Bruff should take the spoils. But knockout rugby can bring up some interesting results at times so get down to the RDS or Kilballyowen Park for crunch time.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION 2 SEMI-FINALS: Saturday, April 17
LANSDOWNE (1st) v DE LA SALLE PALMERSTON (4th), the RDS, 2.30pm
Preview: The form guide says Lansdowne should take this semi-final. They won fourteen out of fifteen in the league phase, amassed 452 points for, secured nine try-scoring bonus points and a one losing bonus. They must be odds on for a place in the final at Anglesea Road on May 7.
In their way stand fellow Dublin club De La Salle Pamerston. ‘Salmo squeezed into fourth spot in the final table on 39 points ahead of Bective Rangers, Old Wesley and Corinthians.
The Kirwan Park outfit will be hoping that the small cracks that appeared in Lansdowne’s form towards the end of the season can be exploited and that they can spoil the party at the RDS on Saturday.
When the sides met at Kirwan Park in March, DLSP ran their visitors close and only lost by three points so an upset is not out of the question.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Lansdowne to win by 6-10 points
BRUFF (2nd) v TERENURE COLLEGE (3rd), Kilballyowen Park, 2.30pm
Preview: Bruff are a club on the rise. They came up the ranks in Munster, climbed into the AIB League and for many were Club of the Year back in 2007 when they went through Division 3 unbeaten and conceded the lowest points on record in a season.
This year they have emerged from the chasing pack behind Lansdowne and while it took them to the second last game to seal promotion, they have earned it the hard way and will relish a day in the sun and another crack at Lansdowne, provided they can take care of business against Terenure College on Saturday.
‘Nure had a surge in form in the latter half of the season, lifting them from the doldrums of mid-table to a late charge for the play-offs.
They won nine games and managed a healthy six try-scoring bonus points along the way and they want revenge for the defeat earlier in the season.
The sides met at the end of January at Lakelands Park and Bruff took the points on the day with a hefty 32-13 win and should be strong enough to take the ‘Nure challenge on Saturday.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Bruff to win by 1-5 points