A big weekend in Division 2 as the top four square off. Match of the day must be the potential title decider between UCD and Ballynahinch at Belfield while promotion will be on the minds of Belfast Harlequins and Bective in Deramore Park.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2: Saturday, February 5
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Belfast Harlequins (3rd) V Bective Rangers (4th), Deramore Park
Whichever club wins in Deramore Park on Saturday neither can move into second place but the losing team faces being overtaken in the promotion race by a strong chasing pack.
‘Quins moved into third thanks to their win over Terenure and Bective’s loss to UCD, albeit they picked up what may be a valuable losing bonus point.
Not much to chose between these sides on paper but home advantage and their ability to pick up more try bonuses favours the hosts. Time will tell.
Dublin University (13th) V Clonakilty (14th), College Park
Both teams have played nine and won only two but Trinity are five losing bonus points ahead of their visitors.
They put up a good show against title contenders Ballynahinch last weekend but came away from Ballymacarn Park empty handed.
By contrast Clon got a timely boost with a 39 – 7 home win over Malone last weekend. The West Cork side have shown grit in the face of relegation before but can they keep bring that to Dublin on Saturday?
Midleton (6th) V Terenure College (9th), Towns Park
Midleton are one of the ‘chasing pack’ who still have a shot at an automatic promotion slot. Four teams make the jump to Division 1B at the end of the season while 5th place has a playoff chance.
Last weekend saw them lose to fellow chasers Corinthians but they will surely not give up another four points this Saturday?
Visitors ‘Nure will picked up a losing bonus last weekend but are probably out of the hunt unless they can stage a late season surge starting Saturday.
Malone (12th) V Ballymena (5th), Gibson Park
Malone have shipped a lot of points in their last two outings – 98 points combined between Ballynahinch and Clonakilty – so Saturday has to see a big defensive effort.
Ballymena squeezed past Queen’s last weekend to return to winning ways after surprise and potentially costly loss to DLSP in January.
A win sees the visitors right back in contention for automatic promotion and that should be carrot enough.
Old Crescent (15th) V Corinthians (7th), Rosbrien
Not a vintage season for the Limerick side. A losing bonus point last weekend keeps them just ahead of Thomond in the relegation fight.
Corinthians picked up a tough win over a gritty Midleton last weekend and have put themselves in with an outside shot at a promotion place.
An away win this weekend could put the visitors into contention but you can never be complacent travelling to Limerick.
Queen’s (8th) V Thomond (15th), Dub Lane
The students seem to have steadied the ship somewhat and while they have not reached the heights of last season they are comfortably mid table and positioned to finish well.
Thomond by contrast are stuck at the bottom of the table. Their only consolation at this point is that they have two games in hand over Old Crescent and Clonakilty that could yet prove crucial to their survival.
UCD (2nd) V Ballynahinch (1st), Belfield
Forget about the Magners League this weekend. Belfield is the place to be if you want some seriously cracking rugby.
The stats speak for themselves – eight wins in eight games; over 500 points scored by these two teams and a total of nine try bonuses between them.
They may well cancel each other out on Saturday but either way this will be full on. Potentially one of the best games of club rugby you will see this season.