Another big ‘Friday Night Lights’ clash at Thomond Park this weekend with UL Bohemians hosting Bruff. The Division 1B action then spreads to the home grounds of Ballynahinch, Belfast Harlequins and UCD on Saturday.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, February 18
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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UL BOHEMIANS (5th) v BRUFF (9th), Thomond Park, Friday, February 17, 7.30pm
Preview: Intriguing meeting of these two Limerick rivals tonight. Friday Nights Lights has proved to be a big success for clubs, attracting large crowds and providing some cracking contests.
UL Bohs are one of the form sides around at the moment following a series of good results. If they can continue that form they could push the top four.
Their latest success saw them travel to Buccaneers and come away with a 15-9 victory. Their pack was particulary impressive on that occasion.
They are now up to fifth spot. Bruff, by comparision, are second-from-bottom and in deep relegation trouble, but they did at least show a big improvement when beating UCD 27-10 last Saturday.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win by 6-10 points
BALLYNAHINCH (4th) v BUCCANEERS (3rd), Ballymacarn Park
Preview: Both teams will be looking to record a victory after disappointing defeats last time out. Ballynahinch went down 13-12 to the bottom of the table outfit UCC.
They must have felt that they let that game slip, especially as they led for most of the afternoon. This time around, they will be hoping that they can show more composure in front of their own supporters.
Buccaneers will also hope to do better. It is a big game as the sides currently lie fourth and third respectively in the table.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win by 1-5 points
BELFAST HARLEQUINS (1st) v UCC (10th), Deramore Park
Preview: First against last. Yet, it might not be quite as straigthforward as it would seem.
Okay, Belfast Harlequins should undoubtedly win but they are up against a UCC side absolutely desperate for points. Furthermore, the students will be boosted by their excellent upset victory over Ballynahinch last weeekend.
That said, the vote has to go to Belfast Harlequins to stay top with another victory, especially if they can to continue to show the sort of form which saw them put 44 points on Dungannon.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Belfast Harlequins to win by 10+ points
UCD (8th) v BALLYMENA (2nd), Belfield
Preview: There is a good deal at stake at Belfield. From UCD’S point of view, it IS because there are third-from-bottom at the moment, only three points ahead of Bruff.
Ballymena, by contrast, are battling for promotion in second spot, just a point behind the leaders. On the basis of those statistics, the Ulster side must be favouritres.
But they must be careful not to underestimate the students. They have a lot to play for and they usually tend to produce their best form at Belfield.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballymena to win by 1-5 points
The game between Dungannon and Galwegians has been postponed due to the death this week of Galwegians player David O’Hara (RIP).