The last game of the 2011/12 Ulster Bank League season takes place on Saturday with the Division 1A promotion/relegation play-off between Old Belvedere and Belfast Harlequins kicking off at Anglesea Road at 2.30pm
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF: Saturday, May 5
OLD BELVEDERE (9th, Div 1A) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (2nd, Div 1B), Anglesea Road, 2.30pm
Preview: The last kick of the ball in the Ulster Bank League this season is this promotion/relegation clash at Anglesea Road.
Last season’s champions Old Belvedere struggled for wins all season and at one stage looked nailed on for automatic relegation.
‘Belvo stalwart Andy Dunne took over the coaching reigns earlier this year, however, and has overseen a mini revival.
Wins over Garryowen, Shannon, Lansdowne and Cork Constitution are big achievements in any season and combined with ten losing bonus points helped the Dubliners to finish ninth and earn this lifeline.
Belfast Harlequins led Division 1B going into the last round of league games but a huge performance from UL Bohemians saw them squeezed into second place by a single point.
The Ulster club have looked strong all season, even more so when they can field the likes of goal-kicking scrum half Ian Porter.
They notched up an impressive five bonus points this season but they must surely rue the losses to Bruff, Buccaneers and of course UL Bohs at the tail end of the league.
‘Belvo will not have Leo Auva’a in their ranks on Saturday but Dunne is something of a talismanic figure for the club and his leadership could prove crucial.
Form favours the home side with their recent run of wins, but ‘Quins have ambitions and despite the disappointment of the last day will travel with real intent.
It might not be pretty – these play-off games are often tense, tight affairs, but it will be gripping!
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win by 1-5 points