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Energia All-Ireland League: Men’s Division 1B Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Men’s Division 1B Previews

Peter Hyland will feature at blindside flanker for UCC when they host Old Belvedere in their final Division 1B game of the calendar year ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Matches in Tullow and Cork are set to go ahead in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1B. The County Carlow club have stepped in to play host to Naas and leaders Buccaneers.


Saturday, December 10

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

NAAS (8th) v BUCCANEERS (1st), Tullow RFC

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Naas: LLLWWLLL; Buccaneers: LWWWWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Naas: Points: Bryan Croke 37; Tries: Andrew Osborne 7; Buccaneers: Points: Michael Hanley 62; Tries: Josh O’Connor 7

Preview: Out-half Harry West is set to return from injury for Buccaneers’ final game before the Christmas break. Michael Hanley, their top scorer with 62 points, moves to full-back, with James Kelly and Sean O’Connell the two changes up front.

Sitting four points clear at the summit, Eddie O’Sullivan’s Pirates are on a seven-match winning streak. Naas are craving that sort of consistent form, having lost three games on the trot to slide down to eighth in the table.

The Cobras, who last hosted Buccs in April 2019, have had to move this match to Tullow Rugby Club, due to snowy conditions at Forenaughts. Front rowers Jack Barry and Tadhg Dooley step up as two of the five personnel changes made by head coach Johne Murphy.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 6, 2018: Buccaneers 13 Naas 36, Dubarry Park; Saturday, April 13, 2019: Naas 33 Buccaneers 19, Forenaughts

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Buccaneers to win

UCC (7th) v OLD BELVEDERE (6th), the Mardyke

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UCC: WWWWLLLL; Old Belvedere: WLWLWLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UCC: Points: Daniel Squires 49; Tries: Sean Condon 5; Old Belvedere: Points: Kale Thatcher 25; Tries: Kale Thatcher 5

Preview: Centre Jamie McAleese and flanker Evan O’Boyle are both promoted from the bench for Old Belvedere’s first visit to the Mardyke since September 2017. They won by a single point that day, an injury-time try splitting the sides.

A dose of home comforts will hopefully see UCC right after a run of four defeats. Killian Coghlan, Joe O’Leary and Cian Whooley return to the back-line, while a notable switch sees captain Louis Bruce revert to the full-back role.

It is very tight in the mid-section of the table with only two points separating Michael Bradley’s young guns, in seventh spot, from fourth-placed Highfield. So, a win of any kind would be a huge result for either to take into the second half of the campaign.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, September 30, 2017: UCC 23 Old Belvedere 24, the Mardyke; Saturday, March 24, 2018: Old Belvedere 22 UCC 26, Anglesea Road

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UCC to win

Matches Postponed: