The ‘Ulster Bs’ lead the way with Belfast Harlequins, Ballymena and Ballynahinch out in front in Division 1B. The Braidmen are at home this weekend, while table toppers ‘Quins and ‘Hinch are both on the road.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1B: Saturday, March 3
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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BALLYMENA (2nd) v UL BOHEMIANS (5th), Eaton Park
Preview: Ballymena will be looking to bounce back from their narrow 31-28 defeat by UCD with a home victory.
They currently lie in second spot, three points behind Belfast Harlequins, so it is imperative that they win here. They played a lot of decent rugby against UCD, with full-back Rodger McBurney scoring a hat trick of tries.
Clearly, the Ireland Club international hopeful is one player UL Bohemians will have to keep a close watch on.
The Limerick side represent a real threat on their best form but they must pick up on their effort when losing to Bruff last time out.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballymena to win by 6-10 points
BRUFF (8th) v BALLYNAHINCH (3rd), Kilballyowen Park
Preview: Third-from-bottom against third from top. Yet, this promises to be a hard-fought and potentially close encounter if Bruff can reproduce the form they showed when beating UL Bohemians 20-16.
That effort was a tremendous boost but they still remain in a dogfight near the bottom of the table. They will be faced by a Ballynahinch team that looked really good when establishing a 22-0 interval lead on another of the promotion contenders Buccaneers last time out.
But the County Down side must have been disappointed with their second half performance. They eventually won 22-14, failing to score any more points after the break.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win by 1-5 points
BUCCANEERS (4th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (1st), Dubarry Park
Preview: Buccaneers will surely look on this as a must win game against the current Division 1B leaders. The Connacht outfit have been far too erractic lately, dropping to fourth spot, nine points behind Belfast Harlequins.
But they are more than capable of lifting their game at Dubarry Park.The battle between the two packs is going to be all-important.
If Belfast Harequins get a platform, place-kicking scrum half Ian Porter can be relied upon to put points on the board. It promises to be a closely-fought encounter.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Belfast Harlequins to win by 1-5 points
GALWEGIANS (9th) v UCD (7th), Crowley Park
Preview: Another game with a lot at stake, only this time it concerns the bottom half of the table.
Galwegians, second-from-bottom, must make home advantage pay. Despite their position, they are quite a talented side with some quality players.
But they will need to perform well to overcome a UCD outfit which produced possibly their best display of the season to upset Ballymena last weekend.
They have plenty of pace in their backs division with right winger Andrew Boyle, a former Ireland Under-20 international, offering a real threat.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Galwegians to win by 1-5 points
UCC (10th) v DUNGANNON (6th), the Mardyke
Preview: UCC still lie bottom, despite showing a big improvement in recent games. They simply must win this match if they are to have any chance of getting out of trouble.
In Dungannon they will come up against probably the most erractic side around. At their best, they are capable of running in a lot of tries.
But quite a few of their recent performances have been very disappointing, a statistic which provides the students with some hope of securing an upset victory.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 6-10 points
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