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Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

Ulster Bank League: Division 2A Previews

Fresh from reclaiming top spot in Ulster Bank League Division 2A, Banbridge face another Ulster derby in the latest round of action, while the bottom two – Sunday’s Well and Cashel – will take each other on in Cork.

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2A: Saturday, October 8

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

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Corinthians (6th) v Highfield (5th), Corinthian Park

Last week’s bonus point win at Cashel has put Corinthians on the right road, and head coach Ene Fa’atau will want to back it up against unbeaten Highfield.

Psychologically, there is a lot riding on this result ahead of the break in fixtures. A second victory for Corinthians would put them in the top four, while the Corkmen could end this first block with two wins and two draws.

Interestingly, the clubs have not met since a 20-3 home victory for Corinthians in January 2013 when a number of the Cloonacauneen outfit’s current squad were still in secondary school.

Malone (7th) v Banbridge (1st), Gibson Park

Another Ulster derby for Malone to get their teeth into. Queen’s proved too hot to handle last week and that could be the case again when leaders Banbridge visit.

Whereas Malone have lacked firepower in their last two outings, Bann are averaging five tries per game with new Kiwi winger Simon Lloyd already with two to his name.

Bann head coach Daniel Soper, whose side host Malone in the Ulster Senior Cup next week, is not getting too carried away with their form. “We’re not good enough to just turn up and expect that it will happen. We’ll need a real effort like we had (against Blackrock),” he said, referring to their 38-15 win.

Nenagh Ormond (2nd) v Queen’s University (4th), New Ormond Park

The tough matches are coming thick and fast for Nenagh Ormond who have gone from a Tipperary derby to back-to-back clashes with two top four hopefuls. Clayton Stewart’s late penalty ensured they drew away to Highfield last week.

It has been a topsy-turvy opening from Queen’s who have one of everything so far – a win, a draw, a loss and both types of bonus point. But the competition for places is high, with Ulster Academy scrum half Jonny Stewart battling Josh Fullerton for the number 9 shirt.

Nenagh’s scrum had Highfield under pressure, and that set piece strength, combined with home advantage and out-half Stewart’s reliable boot, should see the Lisatunny side come out on top.

Blackrock College (3rd) v Belfast Harlequins (8th), Stradbrook, 4pm

Blackrock were overrun by Banbridge last week and will look to restore confidence at home to Belfast Harlequins, the victims of a deflating 8-0 loss to Sunday’s Well.

Taking chances has been a real problem for Harlequins. Andrew Gillespie’s men are the joint-lowest scorers across the five divisions so far with only 33 points on the board.

In contrast, the ‘Quins defence has not been giving away too many tries and Blackrock, nicely positioned in third, might have to bide their time before wearing the visitors down.

Sunday’s Well (9th) v Cashel (10th), Irish Independent Park, 4pm

Sunday’s Well play host to Cashel – the team who replaced them at the foot of the table last week. Emigrating hooker John Moynihan signed off with a try during the ‘Well’s eight-point triumph over Belfast Harlequins.

They would surely settle for another workmanlike win heading into the break. For Cashel, falling away in the closing stages of games simply has to stop. A shortened injury list would also help.

The ‘Well have a second successive home game against Queen’s in two weeks’ time, so this is a period they have to make the most out of if they want to cement themselves as a Division 2A club.