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Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 1B Previews

The latest round of matches in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League is spread over two days, with a trio of tasty Friday Night Lights clashes for starters.


Kick-off 7.30pm unless stated –

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BALLYNAHINCH (1st) v DUNGANNON (7th), Ballymacarn Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Ballynahinch: WWWW; Dungannon: LLWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Ballynahinch: Points: Chris Quinn 39; Tries: Chris Quinn 4; Dungannon: Points: Jaryd Bennett 16; Tries: Chris Cochrane 2

Preview: There is no stopping Ballynahinch just now. They are top of the table on points difference following their 52-19 away demolition of Blackrock College.

Chris Quinn and Adam Craig both helped themselves to three tries in that rout. But ‘Hinch will be aware that Dungannon are sure to provide altogether more difficult opposition.

Dungannon would seem to be a much better side than their position, fourth from bottom, indicates. Still, it is going to take a great performance if they are to inflict a first defeat on Ballynahinch.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, October 14, 2011: Dungannon 21 Ballynahinch 25, Stevenson Park; Friday, February 3, 2012: Ballynahinch 22 Dungannon 22, Ballymacarn Park

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

BELFAST HARLEQUINS (5th) v BALLYMENA (9th), Deramore Park, 7.45pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Belfast Harlequins: LLWW; Ballymena: LLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Belfast Harlequins: Points: Michael Heaney 25; Tries: Adam D’Arcy, Stuart Olding 2 each; Ballymena: Points: Niall Martin 16; Tries: Niall Martin, John Andrew 1 each

Preview: Another Ulster derby. Of the two, Belfast Harlequins have made much the better start, winning two out of four.

Ballymena, hit by the loss of some key players, are having a tough time with four defeats. Their last two efforts have seen an improvement but they still need to step up considerably if they are to move up the table.

Belfast Harlequins, quite clearly, will not be in the mood to do them any favours. One of their key men, out-half Stuart Olding, is unlikely to be lacking in confidence following his appearance as a replacement for Ulster.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, January 6, 2012: Belfast Harlequins 9 Ballymena 0, Deramore Park; Saturday, March 31, 2012: Ballymena 17 Belfast Harlequins 19, Eaton Park

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

BUCCANEERS (6th) v BRUFF (8th), Dubarry Park

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Buccaneers: LWLW; Bruff: WLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Buccaneers: Points: Jack Carty 34; Tries: Alex Hayman 2; Bruff: Points: Brian Carroll 24; Tries: Brendan Deady 2

Preview: Competitive match in prospect. Buccaneers have made the better start to the league campaign, winning two out of four.

Centre Alex Hayman proved to be the difference against Ballymena last weekend, going over for two tries. Bruff will need to keep a close watch on him.

Bruff have managed only one victory to date. They produced a decent enough effort at home to one of the leaders Dublin University last time out but a further improvement is required.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 1, 2011: Buccaneers 17 Bruff 11, Dubarry Park; Saturday, April 21, 2012: Bruff 20 Buccaneers 18, Kilballyowen Park

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

UCD (4th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (10th), Belfield

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – UCD: WWLW; Blackrock College: LLLL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – UCD: Points: James Thornton 30; Tries: Barry Daly 3; Blackrock College: Points: David Godfrey 19; Tries: Michael Carroll 2

Preview: Another tough evening looks on the cards for Blackrock College as they travel to Belfield to take on UCD. The students are flying high again after travelling up to Belfast to inflict a first defeat on Malone.

They have the strength and pace out wide to do a lot of damage against bottom of the table Blackrock.

It is hard to see how Blackrock, in their current mood, are going to stop the likes of Sam Coghlan Murray and Barry Daly. They have been leaking tries at an alarming rate, including eight against Ballynahinch last weekend.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, March 1, 2008: Blackrock College 29 UCD 38, Stradbrook; Saturday, October 25, 2008: UCD 10 Blackrock College 6, Belfield

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCD to win by 10+ points

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY (2nd) v MALONE (3rd), College Park, Saturday, November 10, 1pm

Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Dublin University: WWWW; Malone: WWWL
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Dublin University: Points: Cathal Marsh 29; Tries: Ariel Robles, Niyi Adeolukan 2 each; Malone: Points: Niall O’Connor 45; Tries: Glenn Moore 5

Preview: Anyone looking for something to do prior to the Ireland v South Africa match could do a lot worse than travel to College Park for the meeting of two of the leading contenders in Division 1B.

Unbeaten Dublin University are in second spot, only trailing Ballynahinch on points difference, while Malone are third. It promises to be a cracking match.

It will be fascinating to see how the highly-talented Malone outfit recover from their surprise home defeat to UCD. They will need to be back to their best to get the better of a very organised Dublin University side.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 9, 2010: Malone 29 Dublin University 27, Gibson Park; Saturday, February 4, 2012: Dublin University 18 Malone 11, College Park

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