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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Two big Ulster derby matches command much of the attention ahead of the second round of Division 1B action. Meanwhile, something will have to give at Belfield where early leaders UCD host a Bruff side that beat Ballymena in their opening game.


Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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BALLYMENA (8th) v MALONE (2nd), Eaton Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballymena: L; Malone: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballymena: Points: Niall Martin 5; Tries: Niall Martin 1; Malone: Points: Niall O’Connor 16; Tries: Glenn Moore, Alan O’Connor, Chris Leathem, Neil Alcorn 1 each

Preview: There will be plenty of interest in the performance of Malone following their 36-13 demolition of Dungannon in the opening round. That was quite an effort considering that they are a promoted side.

Ulster out-half Niall O’Connor featured strongly as his side ran in four tries. In complete contrast, Ballymena went down to a disappointing 25-5 defeat away to Bruff. They will clearly need to show a big improvement.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, February 12, 2011: Malone 20 Ballymena 15, Gibson Park

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

BALLYNAHINCH (5th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (10th), Ballymacarn Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: W; Belfast Harlequins: L
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Michael Lawton 12; Tries: Aaron Ferris, Aaron Cairns, Chris Napier 1 each; Belfast Harlequins: Points: Stuart Olding, Rory Scholes, Mark Kettyle, Adam D’Arcy 5 each; Tries: Rory Scholes, Mark Kettyle, Adam D’Arcy 1 each

Preview: Ballynahinch showed that they can again be contenders with a hard-earned 27-17 win away to Buccaneers last weekend.

They are very well organised. They also have the ability to score tries, with Aaron Ferris and Chris Napier always dangerous.

Belfast Harlequins do not look as strong as last season. The fact that they conceded seven tries when losing to UCD suggests that they have some major problems in defence.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 8, 2011: Ballynahinch 27 Belfast Harlequins 16, Ballymacarn Park; Saturday, January 28, 2012: Belfast Harlequins 19 Ballynahinch 13, Deramore Park

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

BLACKROCK COLLEGE (7th) v BUCCANEERS (6th), Stradbrook

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Blackrock College: L; Buccaneers: L
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: David Godfrey 6; Tries: Mark Scott-Lennon 1; Buccaneers: Points: Jack Carty 12; Tries: Kolo Kiripati 1

Preview: Absolutely vital for Blackrock College that they get a home victory after losing 29-12 to Dublin University first time out.

It does appear that they still have a lot of sorting out to do following their relegation from Division 1A last season. They must hope that home advantage proves crucial in them getting that important first win.

Buccaneers are also looking for a first success after losing at home to Buccaneers. Once again, their talismanic captain Kolo Kiripati looks to be their main threat.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, December 6, 2008: Blackrock College 29 Buccaneers 12, Stradbrook

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

DUNGANNON (9th) v DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (3rd), Stevenson Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dungannon: L; Dublin University: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dungannon: Points: Peter Nelson 8; Tries: Paul McCarroll 1; Dublin University: Points: David Joyce 9; Tries: Jack Dilger, Ariel Robles, Martin Kelly, Pierce Dargan 1 each

Preview: Dublin University bid to continue their impressive start to the season with an away success in Ulster. The students have done very little wrong to date.

Their efforts in scoring four tries when up against Blackrock College suggest that they can make a real impression in this division.

Last season, Dundannon were one of the more exciting sides around, scoring plenty of tries. But they fell well below their normal standards when conceding 36 points to Malone and will be hoping for a significant improvement.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, March 4, 2006: Dublin University 25 Dungannon 12, College Park

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

UCD (1st) v BRUFF (4th), Belfield

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UCD: W; Bruff: W
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: Barry Daly, Danny Kenny, James Thornton 10 each; Tries: Barry Daly, Danny Kenny 2 each; Bruff: Points: Brian Carroll 10; Tries: Brendan Deady, Gary Leonard 1 each

Preview: Should be a worthwhile crowd at Belfield to see UCD on Saturday, following their efforts in scoring seven tries away to Belfast Harlequins.

They have plenty of exciting performers, none more so than winger Barry Daly who crossed for two tries last time out.

Bruff though are unlikely to roll over. The Limerick outfit had a very decent win themselves in beating Ballymena 25-5. So, there is a very entertaining game in prospect.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 29, 2011: UCD 21 Bruff 8, Belfield; Saturday, February 11, 2012: Bruff 27 UCD 10, Kilballyowen Park

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