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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

All we can say for certain in Division 1B is that UCC will be relegated. After that, the title is still there for the taking with Belfast Harlequins, Dungannon and UL Bohemians leading the charge. One up and one play-off for Divison 1A means that Buccaneers, Ballynahinch and Ballymena are all still in the promotion mix.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated

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BALLYNAHINCH (5th) v UL BOHEMIANS (3rd), Ballymacarn Park

Preview: A big match for both teams as they attempt to stay in the promotion race. UL Bohemians lie third with Ballynahinch back in fifth spot.

It may well be that Ballynahinch’s chance has already gone following their surprise defeat to UCD last time out. But they must look to beat UL Bohs and hope that some of the top sides slip up.

However, UL Bohs are one of the form sides in the division and will take a lot of beating, particularly if they can call on JJ Hanrahan. He proved the difference, scoring 13 points in their victory over Galwegians.

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballynahinch to win by 1-5 points

BELFAST HARLEQUINS (1st) v UCD (8th), Deramore Park

Preview: League leaders Belfast Harlequins can put themselves in a very strong position for promotion by beating the students.

But it is not as straightforward as it might seem. Third-from-bottom UCD are fighting desperately to avoid getting involved in a relegation-promotion play-off.

Their 25-12 bonus point home victory over Ballynahinch two weeks back indicated that they are up for the fight. But it will clearly take an even bigger effort if they are upset front-running ‘Quins on their home patch.

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Belfast Harlequins to win by 6-10 points

DUNGANNON (2nd) v BALLYMENA (6th), Stevenson Park

Preview: In-form Dungannon can take another important step in their bid to gain promotion by beating their Ulster rivals at Stevenson Park.

Their impressive 36-10 victory over Galwegians in a refixed match last weekend moved them up to second place in the table. It was also their fourth win in-a-row.

Conor Gaston and ireland Under-20 captain Paddy Jackson were in top form, as was place-kicker Michael Lawton. Ballymena represent dangerous opposition but home advantage should give Dungannon an edge.

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dungannon to win by 1-5 points

GALWEGIANS (7th) v BUCCANEERS (4th), Crowley Park

Preview: Important match for these Connacht rivals for very different reasons. Fourth-placed Buccaneers must win in order to retain any hope of promotion.

Galwegians, by contrast, are trying to stay clear of relegation trouble. They are currently fourth-from-bottom, just two points clear of Bruff in second last place.

So, there is an enormous amount at stake. Despite their lowly position in the table and a big loss to Dungannon last weekend, Galwegians are quite capable of upsetting their rivals.

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Galwegians to win by 1-5 points

UCC (10th) v BRUFF (9th), the Mardyke

Preview: Last against second last. The students have precious little to play for as they are way adrift at the bottom of the table. But Bruff will not be underestimating them.

They know that they simply cannot afford to lose their concentration if they are to move clear of relegation trouble.
Importantly, the Limerick outfit has shown some improved form lately.

Although Bruff lost 25-16 to the in-form Dungannon in their last outing, that was not a bad effort and a repeat performance should be enough to earn them a crucial victory here.

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Bruff to win by 6-10 points