The league gets underway this weekend in Division 2A and everyone will be eager to set out their stall – not least the new clubs in the division Blackrock, Belfast Harlequins, Highfield and Sunday’s Well.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2A: Saturday, September 17
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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Banbridge v Sunday’s Well, Rifle Park
The home side made it to the playoffs at the end of last season and will have ambitions to go one better this time around.
First up they host the newly promoted Sunday’s Well who accounted for City of Derry and Greystones on their way up.
A good bell weather match for both clubs to assess where they stand at the start of the season.
Belfast Harlequins v Nenagh Ormond, Deramore Park
A statement game for Belfast Harlequins as they finished bottom of Division 1B with just three wins.
Nenagh Ormond finished fifth last season and will present a difficult challenge again this season – they recorded 7 try bonus points in 15/16.
A tough match for both sides but it will get the league off to an interesting start.
Blackrock College v Galway Corinthians, Stradbrook
Blackrock dropped down to Division 2A through the playoffs. They beat Cashel but lost to UCC in the final decider.
First up they host Corinthians who finished 8th in the Division last season – narrowly avoiding a playoff scrap.
The Dublin side should prove the stronger at home.
Cashel v Malone, Spafields
Cashel finished 4th last season, ten points clear of Malone in 6th place.
They missed out in the playoffs, going down 24 – 7 to Blackrock.
Both sides won the away legs of the corresponding fixture in 15/16 so it will be interesting to see if that holds true again this year.
Highfield v Queens, Woodleigh Park
An interesting first test for Highfield in Division 2A. They were a consistently strong force in 2B last season winning 13 games and accruing a total of nine bonus points.
Queens finished mid table with seven wins but they still managed 5 try bonus points last season but they will need to shore up on the defensive issues that cost them.