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All-Ireland League Division 1B Preview: Old Wesley v Naas

All-Ireland League Division 1B Preview: Old Wesley v Naas

The rescheduled Division 1B fixture between Old Wesley and Naas takes place tonight at Energia Park (kick-off 8pm). There is plenty of momentum behind both teams following last week’s wins over Banbridge and Ballynahinch respectively.


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OLD WESLEY (8th) v NAAS (2nd), Energia Park, Donnybrook, 8pm

All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Old Wesley: WDLW; Naas: WWLW
All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Old Wesley: Points: Rory Stynes 20; Tries: Paul Harte 3; Naas: Points: Peter Osborne 42; Tries: Andy Ellis 4

Preview: Only six points separate eighth from second in a tightly-packed Division 1B table, so a win in this game-in-hand would propel Old Wesley into the top four. Even a losing bonus point will be enough for Naas to recapture top spot from Malone.

This clash is a head-to-head between Ireland Club international coaches Morgan Lennon and Johne Murphy, the latter still wielding influence on the pitch at inside centre. Murphy has made five changes to the Naas team that won 27-14 over Ballynahinch, bringing in forwards Conor Doyle, Cathal Duff, David Benn and Ryan Casey, with Niall Delahunt starting on the left wing and top try scorer Andy Ellis switching to midfield.

Rory Stynes returns at full-back for Wesley who are also boosted by the inclusion of Munster development prop Cronan Gleeson at loosehead. Hooker Ben Burns is the third change from last week’s impressive 15-8 victory at Banbridge.

There have been three home wins in the sides’ last four meetings, while Naas emerged unbeaten from last December’s double header – winning 30-25 at Forenaughts before drawing 23-all in Donnybrook where Peter Osborne’s late penalty gave them a share of the spoils. With a wet night forecast, his goal-kicking could be the difference.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 2, 2017: Naas 30 Old Wesley 25, Forenaughts; Saturday, December 9, 2017: Old Wesley 23 Naas 23, Donnybrook

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Naas to win