Domestic Rugby preview for Sat 16th March 2019 by George Millar

36 minutes, 12 seconds Read

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Domestic Rugby preview for Sat 16th March 2019 by George Millar


Teams and coaches will look forward to a weekend off after playing a crucial block of four games in the All Ireland League with three Rounds left. These remaining games will be played on the 23rd March, 6th and 13th April 2019. There were seven wins out of twelve for the Ulster AIL teams with four losing teams picking up valuable league points. Omagh were the only team to return empty handed from their trip to Cork to play Midleton. 13 teams completed the double over their opponents with 11 teams reversing the results from Round 4. The only outstanding fixture from Round 15 involving Dolphin and Highfield will be played at Irish Independent Park on Friday the 15th March.


One point separates the top three teams with Ballynahinch level on points with leaders Old Wesley with City of Armagh a further point behind. Malone slipped to their third defeat in a row after losing at Old Belvedere. They now find themselves four points adrift of Old Wesley in 4th place. Upcoming games involving Ulster derbies between Ballynahinch, City of Armagh and Malone will go some way to identifying the potential Ulster challengers for the league title and automatic promotion with City of Armagh travelling to play Old Wesley at Donnybrook in their final Round 18 match on the 13th April. Ballynahinch made it three wins from four in this block of games after convincingly defeating Buccaneers at Dubarry Park 43 – 24 – scoring seven tries in the process. City of Armagh needed to win their game at home to St Mary’s College to remain in contention. They did this in style winning 39 – 21. Three narrow defeats from four games reflect the competitiveness of this league as Malone fight to remain in contention. Banbridge rebounded from three defeats to pick up a bonus point in their 31 – 27 win at Ballymena with winger Conor Field scoring three tries. The defeat almost certainly consigns Ballymena to relegation to Div 2A. They find themselves 14 points behind 9th place Buccaneers with three games remaining. It has been a difficult second half to the season for Head coach Andy Graham and his players as they look to end a six match losing run in the AIL. The Eaton Park side led 17 – 5 at halftime against Banbridge but could not withstand a Banbridge comeback that produced 26 points for the Bann team to win this crucial game after slipping down to 9th place. Head coach Simon McKinstry and his players have much work to do to avoid 9th place with four points separating Malone in 4th place and Buccaneers in 9th place. Anxious times for these six teams in their remaining games. Hard to believe only eight points separate the top nine teams in this league with three games left to play. For these teams every match is a Cup Final with teams targeting 1st place, the Playoffs and looking to avoid 9th place and the Playoffs. This league from an Ulster perspective has provided plenty of drama from Round One in addition to the Ulster derbies that have added considerable spice to the fixture programme that will ensure plenty of drama continues until its conclusion on Saturday 13th April.


Queens University picked up a maximum 20 points from this block of four games to remain in 4th place four points ahead of 5th place UL Bohemians. For a team that was struggling in the first half of the season. Head coach Derek Suffern will be delighted with the response shown by his players to win 5/6 games in 2019 with their only defeat coming away to second place Cashel. The students find themselves only four points behind 3rd place Navan RFC as they target three wins from their remaining games to make the Playoffs. If Queens are to secure promotion they will have to do it the hard way by playing away to the 9th place team in Div 1B and then playing the winners of Cashel RFC v Navan RFC game if they come through their semi – final on current league standings. As coaches will tell you it is all about focusing on the next game and securing a result by not looking too far ahead. The team made it 19 tries in this block of games with another six against visitors Nenagh Ormond at the Dub to win 41 – 22 with number 8 James Catterson picking up a brace.


Have to say I was concerned about the three Ulster teams in this league entering the second half of the season. Rainey OB have had to rely on a young squad with the experienced Terry McMaster joining the coaching team at a crucial stage of the season as Rainey challenge for the Playoffs. They strengthened their case with an impressive 29 – 24 win at Galway Corinthians after losing games against Skerries and Sligo. Captain Paul Pritchard was amongst the try scorers along with their impressive South African Hooker Brad Roberts who has impressed everybody at the club with his work on the pitch after returning from a lengthy spell on the touchlines. Several members at the Club are asking the question why Ulster Rugby are not looking at him. The fortunes of Dungannon and Belfast Harlequins did not look promising with both teams languishing in the bottom two places before Xmas. The Dungannon revival in 2019 has continued with the team winning three from four games in this block to move up to 7th place. The players had to dig deep for their 20 – 17 win over 10th place Sunday’s Well with their Chilean/Italian centre Lucca Avelli scoring 15 points. He along with their French second row Guilhem Lopez have made a big impact at Stevenson Park this season. Belfast Harlequins won one from four games with the team picking up crucial league points in narrow losses away to MU Barnhall and Greystones. Head coach Nicky Wells has been able to select a settled side with Toby Mannus taking on the Captains armband as the team find themselves in 9th place four points behind 8th place Skerries. Full back Mark Glover has been a key player scoring five tries in their last four matches. With three games remaining Quins have two home matches coming up against Dungannon and Galway Corinthians with Sunday’s Wells away. Belfast Harlequins had to defeat Omagh in the Playoffs last season to retain their place in Div 2B. The Ulster derby involving Belfast Harlequins and Dungannon on the 23rd March at Deramore Park has an added significance for both teams with Dungannon having a six point advantage over Quins with every league point crucial at this stage of the season. 10th place Sunday’s Well find themselves five points adrift of Belfast Harlequins with eight points separating the teams in 5th to 9th place. Again it is an anxious time for these teams as they fight for survival in this league.


Three defeats away from home in 2019 have seen Omagh slip outside the top four as the team battle for the Playoffs and a top four finish. Three points separate Omagh, Malahide and Bruff in 3rd to 5th place. With Omagh travelling to Malahide in Round 17 their Playoff ambitions could be decided in this meeting between the two teams. City of Derry continue their fight to keep their place in the All Ireland league after a battling 10 – 5 win over Ulster neighbours Bangor at the Craig Thompson Stadium. 10th place Thomond find themselves four points behind 9th place Seapoint with Bangor three points ahead of Seapoint with five points separating the teams in 6th – 9th place. Out of their three remaining games – City of Derry have two games away from home against Seapoint and Tullamore who are in 9th and 7th place. Bangor have now lost their last eight AIL matches with matches at home to top four sides Midleton and Malahide and Thomond away left to complete their AIL schedule. Again the final fixtures on the 13th April will decide who will finish in 9th place. Two wins for Omagh and Bangor against Thomond will surely see the Limerick side relegated from the All Ireland league.



Ballyclare won their match in hand at Cooke on Tuesday night 26 – 0 picking up a valuable bonus point to move two points ahead of 2nd place Instonians with number 8 Davy Clarke scoring two of their four tries. The league winners will be decided on Saturday 23rd March when Ballyclare host 3rd place Dromore at the Cloughan with second place Instonians playing Cooke in a local derby at Shaws bridge. Instonians were made to work for their 33 – 24 win over Carrickfergus at the weekend with full back Colm Cregan scoring three tries. Ballyclare found themselves trailing Coleraine 17 – 15 at Rugby Avenue. Three late tries in the final quarter were sufficient to see Ballyclare win 32 – 17 and keep the pressure on Instonians. The contest between the two teams in 3rd and 4th place – Dromore and Grosvenor was a very keenly contested affair at Barban Hill. Grosvenor led 7 – 5 at halftime and looked like causing an upset with a converted try winning the match for Dromore 12 – 7. Dromore remain five points behind Ballyclare in their pursuit of the league title. With Ballyclare defeating Cooke – Grosvenor will finish in 4th place and secure a place in the AIL Junior Cup next season. You would have to say it is a contest between Carrickfergus, Cooke and Enniskillen to finish in 5th place. Enniskillen came back from trailing Portadown at Chambers Park to win 23 – 14 with their scrum half Nick Finlay scoring 16 points. Carrickfergus picked up a valuable losing bonus point at Instonians on Sat. Cooke came back from 24 – 10 down at CIYMS to almost snatch a draw with their conversion attempt drifting wide to lose 24 – 22. It is looking as if the match between Portadown and CIYMS at Chambers Park on the 23rd March will decide who finishes in 9th place. Last season Portadown finished in 9th place and had to defeat Randalstown in a playoff match to keep their place in Div 1. On their return to Div 1 CIYMS finished in the top four and qualified for the All Ireland Junior Cup this season. Despite winning four of their last six league games CIYMS remain in 9th place. Portadown have lost six from seven of their last league games since Stuart Lamb took over as Head coach. A lot at stake for both teams and coaches in this match. New Coleraine Head coach Brian Hughes will be delighted with his teams efforts as they look forward to life in Div 2 next season after a strong performance against Ballyclare.


With Limavady suffering a last minute defeat at Randalstown to lose 23 – 21 the league contest between the top four teams remains wide open. Limavady have a game in hand on the top two teams Clogher Valley and Academy with Randalstown having two games in hand. Much improved Ballymoney in 5th place could have a big say in the league winners when they travel to Limavady this weekend with Ballymoney hosting Academy on the 30th March. On Saturday the boot of Randalstown out half Martin Connolly was needed to convert a 40 metre penalty to win this well contested match with Limavady. Clogher Valley I understand will travel to Randalstown on Tuesday the 26th March to play their outstanding league game followed by Limavady at home on Saturday 30th March. Randalstown have a rearranged league game at Ards this weekend. You can see how congested the league programme will be for the top four teams in the next three weeks. Again as in recent weeks bonus points will be vital deciding the league winners. Limavady Head coach Graeme Eastwood will have been disappointed that his team failed to take advantage of their 18 – 7 and 21 – 10 leads to allow a dominant Randalstown pack to score 13 points to win this match in the final quarter. Clogher Valley required a strong final quarter to defeat Ards 24 – 3 after leading 5 – 3 at halftime. Out half Paul Armstrong was the difference scoring and converting two tries. Academy were ruthless in running in nine tries as they defeated struggling Lisburn 55 – 5 with back row forward Stuart Martin scoring three tries. Larne were made to work for their hard earned 29 – 20 win over UUC to confirm their place in Div 2 next season with their out half BJ McFaul scoring two of his teams three tries. This defeat confirmed the relegation of UUC to Div 3 next season. Lisburn will finish in 9th place as they trail Larne by 12 points with two games remaining. They will face Monaghan in the Playoff to retain their place in Div 2 next season. Lurgan coaches Bruce Cornelius and Jason Wallace will be concerned that their team have lost their last four from five league games.


The top two teams in this league Donaghadee and Monaghan won their respective Gordon West Cup semi Finals to make the Final that will be played at the Kingspan stadium on Saturday 6th April. Donaghadee still have a seven point advantage over second place Monaghan who have played one game more than the North Down Side. The three remaining rounds in the league are due to be completed by Saturday 13th April 2019.


Randalstown President Jimmy Parkhill welcomed representatives of Limavady RFC to this well attended pre match lunch at Nelisbrook clubhouse. The game of rugby did not disappoint with two in form teams entertaining the supporters of both teams with the last kick of the match deciding the outcome of this vital game for the two teams. Randalstown made the perfect start with winger Eoin Letters scoring an opportunist try converted by Martin Connolly. There was no lack of commitment or intensity in the rugby being played by both teams. What was also pleasing was the level of skill being shown by the players on both teams with the two teams committed to protecting their defensive formations. It took Limavady 25 mins to level the scores with their powerful centre Jamie Millar touching down with Peter Wilson levelling the match. Two penalties converted by Peter Wilson extended the Limavady lead to 13 – 7 at halftime after Randalstown had a player yellow carded. With the one man advantage Limavady increased their lead to 18 – 7 after back row forward Daniel Irvine touched down. With the Limavady pack struggling to compete with the Randalstown scrum it was only a matter time before they narrowed the Limavady lead to 21 – 20 with a penalty try and a penalty. The home supporters reminded me Randalstown always finished strongly. When Randalstown were penalised at a five metre scrum it looked as if Limavady had dealt with the danger only to concede a penalty 40 metres out. Up stepped Martin Connolly to split the posts to win the game for Randalstown in a highly entertaining game of rugby. What was pleasing – was to return to a packed clubhouse where both sets of players and club officials joined supporters from both teams to enjoy the hospitality served up by the members of this well organised community rugby club.



ROUND 1 : PLAYED 30.3.19

ROUND 2 : PLAYED 6.4.19

ROUND 3 : PLAYED 13.4.19





If an Ulster team is relegated from DIV 2C of the All Ireland League and is not replaced by a team from Ulster – two teams will be automatically relegated from Div 1 and 2 of the Ulster Rugby Championship. That is the teams who finish in 9th and 10th place. Only one team (League winners) will be promoted from Div 2 and 3. The results of the Playoffs will not count towards promotion and relegation in these circumstances. The Final – Round matches in the All Ireland League will be played on the 13th April 2019.


6th PLACE TEAM IN 2ND XV LEAGUE AND HIGHEST PLACED AIL 2ND XV TEAM IN PROVINCIAL 1. PLAYED 27.4.19. Malone seconds are currently in 6th place in 2nd xv league with Queens University seconds top of Provincial 1.


Rainey OB under 18s 27 Omagh/Dungannon under 18s 12. Played Wednesday 13th March 2019

The final quarter final Match between City of Derry under 18s and City of Armagh under 18s will take place at Chambers Park – Portadown RFC on Wednesday 20th March 2019 KO 7.45PM.


Rainey OB have announced the appointment of Terry McMaster as Backs coach to work alongside Head coach John Andrews.




Clontarf 45 Shannon 14

Cork Constitution 49 Lansdowne 17

Terenure College 39 UCC 29

UCD 14 Garryowen 24

Young Munster 24 Dublin University 18


Naas 7 Old Wesley 5

Ballymena 27 Banbridge 31

Ballymena team: 1. Nacho Clandero Crespo, 2. John Andrews, 3. Chris Cundell, 4. JJ McKee, 5. Connor Smyth, 6. Matthew Dick, 7. Marcus Rea (Capt), 8. Clive Ross, 9. Michael Stronge, 10. Tim Small, 11. Jonny Rossborough, 12. Alan Smyth, 13. Paddy James, 14. Darrell Montgomery, 15. Glenn Baillie, 16. Josh Bill, 17. James Taggart, 18. Jonny Spence, 19. Phil Campbell, 20. Jack Fleming.

Points scorers: Penalty try + con, Matthew Dick, Michael Stronge 1 x try each, Timmy Small 2 x con and 2 x pens.

Banbridge team: 1. Michael Cromie (Capt), 2. Peter Cromie, 3. Corrie Barrett, 4. Matthew Laird, 5. Stephen Irvine, 6. Caleb Montgomery, 7. Robin Sinton, 8. Greg Jones, 9. Jonny Stewart, 10. Michael Lowry, 11. Adam Ervine, 12.James Hume, 13. Andrew Morrison, 14. Conor Field, 15. Adam Doherty, 16. Jonny Weir, 17. Stuart Cromie, 18. Dale Carson, 19. Jonny Little, 20. Ian Porter.

Points scorers: Conor Field 3 x tries, Michael Lowry and Michael Cromie 1 x try each, Ian Porter 3 x cons.

Buccaneers 24 Ballynahinch 43

Ballynahinch team: 1. Jonny Blair, 2. Zack McCall, 3. Tom O’Toole, 4. John Donnan, 5. Jack Regan, 6. Keith Dickson, 7. Bradley Luney, 8. Conall Boomer, 9. Rhys O’Donnell, 10. Johnny McPhillips, 11. Aaron Cairns (Capt), 12. Rory Butler, 13. Robin Harte, 14. George Pringle, 15. Ross Adair, 16. Clayton Milligan, 17. Ben Cullen, 18. Conor Piper, 19. Ryan Wilson, 20. Paddy Wright.

Points scorers: Rhys O’Donnell, Zack McCall, George Pringle, Ross Adair, Keith Dickson, Robin Harte, Paddy Wright 1 x try each. Johnny McPhillips 4 x cons

City of Armagh 39 St Mary’s College 21

City of Armagh team: 1. Paul Mullen, 2. Jonny Morton, 3. Philip Fletcher, 4. Peter Starrett, 5. Josh McKinley, 6. James Hanna, 7. Nigel Simpson, 8. Neil Faloon, 9. Harry Doyle, 10. Jonny Pollock, 11. Shea O’Brien, 12. Chris Cousens, 13. Chris Colvin (Capt), 14. Evin Crummie, 15. Tim McNeice, 16. Jack Sleator, 17. Eoin O’Hagan, 18. James Morton, 19. Cormac Fox, 20. Gerard Treanor.

Points scorers: Jonny Morton, Neil Faloon, Shea O’Brien, Evin Crummie, Tim McNeice 1 x try each, Chris Cousens 4 x cons and 2 x pens (14 x points)

Old Belvedere 15 Malone 12

Malone team: 1. Ben Halliday, 2. Adam McBurney, 3. Ricky Greenwood, 4. James McAllister, 5. Matthew Dalton, 6. Dave Cave, 7. Ross Todd (Capt), 8. Joe Dunleavy, 9. Graham Curtis, 10. Callum Smith, 11. Mark O’Connor, 12. Nathan Brown, 13. Josh Pentland, 14. Ben McCaughey, 15. Andy Bryans, 16. Dan Kerr, 17. Lee Barlow, 18. Ryan Clarke, 19. Shane Kelly, 20. Jack McMurtry.

Points scorers: Matthew Dalton, Josh Pentland 1 x try each, Callum Smith 1 x con.


Cashel RFC 50 Galwegians 19

Navan RFC 14 Old Crescent 17

UL Bohemians 30 Blackrock College 18

Round 15 match between Dolphin and Highfield will be played on Friday 15.3.19 with a KO 8PM

Queens University 41 Nenagh Ormond 22

Queens University team: 1. Brian Cunningham 2. Alexander Clarke, 3. Andrew Weir, 4. James Longwell, 5. Martin Withers, 6. David Whitten (Capt), 7. David Swann, 8. James Catterson, 9. Matthew Keane, 10. Richie McMaster, 12. Conor McKee, 13. Rory Bell, 14. Jonny Hunter, 15. Michael Orr, 16. Martin Millar, 17. Andrew McGrath, 18. Andrew Walker, 19. Fal El Valve, 20. Robbie Johnston.

Points scorers: James Catterson 2 x tries, David Whitten, Mark Keane, Brian Cunningham, Conor McKee 1 x try each, Richie McMaster 4 x cons and 1 x pen.


Greystones 40 Skerries 27

Wanderers 29 Sligo 36

Dungannon 20 Sunday’s Well 17

Dungannon team: 1. Ross Stewart, 2. Malcolm Allister, 3. James Gamble, 4. Guilhem Lopez, 5. Alex Gourley, 6. David Leyburn, 7. Mark Riddell (Capt), 8. James McMahon, 9. Conor Milnes, 10. John Buckley, 11. Jordan McIIwaine, 12. Lucca Avelli, 13. Mervyn Brown, 14. Matthew Montgomery, 15. Andrew McGregor, 16. Daniel Maxwell, 17. Glenn Sinnamon, 18. Stephen Todd, 19. Peter Doran, 20. Conor McGeough.

Points scorers: Mervyn Brown 1 x try, Lucca Avelli 1 x try, 2 x con and 2 x pens (15 x points)

Galway Corinthians 24 Rainey OB 29

Rainey OB team: 1. Aidan McSwiggan, 2. Brad Roberts, 3. Kieran Donaghy, 4. John McCusker, 5. Cameron Stewart, 6. Andy Harbinson, 7. Charlie Clarke, 8. Paul Pritchard (Capt), 9. Jason Bloomfield, 10. Andrew Magrath, 11. Caolan Moran, 12. Conor Fitzsimons, 13. Oisin Quinn, 14. Lorcan Quinn, 15. Michael O’Neill, 16. Fintan Quinn, 17. Jack McIntosh, 18. George Fritz, 19. Andrew Browne, 20. Mark Mulholland.

Points scorers: Paul Pritchard, Conor Fitzsimons, Brad Roberts, Caolan Moran 1 x try each, Andrew McGrath 3 x cons and 1 x pen.

MU Barnhall 20 Belfast Harlequins 17

Belfast Harlequins team: 1. Toby Mannus (Capt), 2. Mark McGrath, 3. James Harrison, 4. Troy Webber, 5. Jaz Andress, 6. Thomas Gallagher, 7. Jona Siri, 8. Ben Alexander, 9. Connor Young, 10. Timmy Emerson, 11. Peter Dunlop, 12. Mark Kettyle, 13. Kyle Adams, 14. James McConnell, 15. Mark Glover, 16. Matthew Borne, 17. Charlie Sargaison, 18. Danny Annett, 19. James Bovill, 20. Jordan McIIwrath.

Points scorers: Mark Glover 2 x tries, Connor Young 2 x cons and 1 x pen.


Ballina 37 Bruff 20

Thomond 22 Malahide 33

Tullamore 15 Seapoint 24

City of Derry 10 Bangor 5

City of Derry team: 1. Jimmy Hamilton, 2. David Ferguson, 3. Ben Pollin, 4. Adam Bratton, 5. Conor McMenamin, 6. Stephen Corr, 7. Chris Lamberton, 8. Craig Huey, 9. Rory MacGinty, 10. Alex McDonnell, 11. James Perry, 12. Davy Graham, 13. David Lapsley, 14. Thomas Cole, 15. Keelan Coyle, 16. Ross Harkin, 17. Gerard Doherty, 18. Barry Laverty, 19. Tiernan Thornton, 20. Philip Duffy.

Points scorers: Conor McMenamin 1 x try, Alex McDonnell 1 x pen and 1 x con.

Bangor team: 1. Charlie Clegg, 2. Andrew Shaw, 3. James Leary, 4. Lewis Stevenson, 5. David Caughey, 6. Mikey Weir, 7. Ethan Murray, 8. David Bradford (Capt), 9. Ally Lockhart, 10. Liam Preston, 11. David Charles, 12. Desi Fusco, 13. Mark Widdowson, 14. Nathan Graham, 15. Phil Broderick, 16. Andrew Jackson, 17. Ben Worthington, 18. Michael Ferguson, 19. Max Preston, 20. Adam McCusker.

Points scorers: David Charles 1 x try.

Midleton 35 Omagh 12

Omagh team: 1. Peter Todd, 2. Phil Ewing, 3. Richard Smyth, 4. Jamie Sproule, 5. Kaine Holden, 6. Mervyn Edgar, 7. Adam Longwell, 8. Matthew Clyde, 9. Stewart McCain, 10. Peter Scott, 11. Matthew Eccles, 12. Luke Hanson, 13. Scott Barr, 14. Ryan Mitchell, 15. David Ward, 16. Ethan McKeown, 17. Glenn McKinley, 18. Michael Gibson, 19. Taine Lagan, 20. Dean Kane.

Points scorers: Ryan Mitchell 1 x try, Peter Scott 1 x try and 1 x con.



CIYMS 24 Cooke 22

CIYMS team: 1. Aaron Kirkpatrick, 2. Scott McNarry, 3. Gavin Woods, 4. Cory Tipping, 5. Timmy Acheson, 6. Scott Dowle, 7. Jason Gilliland, 8. Shane Moffatt, 9. Cameron Stewart, 10. Paddy Beverland, 11. Eunan Nelson, 12. Matthew Kilgore, 13. Nathan Burns, 14. Michael Fry, 15. Peter Raine, 16. Michael Lilly, 17. Harry Jenkins.

Points scorers: Nathan Burns, Shane Moffatt 1 x try each, Matthew Kilgore 1 x try, 3 x cons and 1 x pen. (14 x points).

Cooke team: 1. Declan McClements, 2. Ian Moxen, 3. Russell Hunter, 4. Jonathan Walsh, 5. Andrew Quigley, 6. Matthew Elliott, 7. Callum Robinson, 8. Luke Tarry, 9. Ryan Flavelle, 10. Andrew Hanna, 11. Philip Wood, 12. Kyle Mitchell (Capt), 13. Jonathan Backus, 14. Alan Gourlay, 15. Alex Gourlay, 16. James Milligan, 17. Josh Harper.

Points scorers: Alex Gourley 2 x tries, Jonathan Backus 1 x try, Alan Gourley 1 x pen and 1 x con, Andrew Hanna 1 x con.

Coleraine 17 Ballyclare 32

Coleraine team: 1. Cillian Butler, 2. Andy McKee, 3. Aidy Nevin, 4. Brandon Baillie, 5. Josh Christie, 6. Daniel McGinley, 7. Bernard Mullan, 8. Simon McLean, 9. Matthew Leighton, 10. Bruce Kirkpatrick, 11. Robin Sidla, 12. Gavin Piennar, 13. Bradley Dempster, 14. Josh Wiseman, 15. Brian Cochrane, 16. Dijon McCorkell, 17. Alistair Corbett.

Points scorers : Gavin Piennar, Josh Christie, Matthew Leighton 1 x try each, Bruce Kirkpatrick 1 x con.

Ballyclare team: 1. Dean Jones, 2. Matthew Coulter, 3. Al Boyd, 4. Robert Boyd, 5. Ryan Tweed, 6. Aaron Playfair, 7. Gary Weatherup, 8. Dave Clarke, 9. Andy Eastop, 10. Niall Lawther, 11. Michael Kirk, 12. Joel McBride (Capt), 13. Willie Stewart, 14. Owen Kirk, 15. Gary Cotworthy, 16. Jack Black, 17. Robbie Reid.

Points scorers: Matthew Coulter, Owen Kirk, Dave Clarke, Robert Boyd, Michael Kirk 1 x try each, Gary Clotworthy 1 x try and 1 x con.

Dromore 12 Grosvenor 7

Dromore team: 1. Tom Lyttle, 2. Fraser Mulholland, 3. Rory Pepper, 4. Jonny Maguire, 5. Jonny Maguire, 6. Ross Binham, 7. Adam McGregor, 8. Ben Heath, 9. TJ Morris, 10. David Lyttle, 11. Aaron Stewart, 12. Graeme McCandless, 13. Andrew Rutledge, 14. Brian McClearn, 15. Adam McDonald, 16. Andrew Black, 17. Andrew Coffey.

Points scorers: Ben Heath 1 x try, Adam McDonald 1 x try and 1 x con.

Grosvenor team: 1. Mark Rainey, 2. Stuart Smyth, 3. Willy Rea, 4. Peter Dawson, 5. Mark Cartmill, 6. Ben Davies, 7. Sam Purdon, 8. Connor McKee, 9. Allen McCluggage, 10. Peter Davison, 11. David Egner, 12. Ben Coard, 13. Jos McConkey, 14. Jonny Farquhar, 15. Adam Skelton, 16. Daniel Bowden, 17. Matthew Fitzsimons.

Points scorers: Ben Coard 1 x try, Adam Skelton 1 x con.

Instonians 33 Carrickfergus 24

Instonians team: 1. Conor Gallagher, 2. Neil Saulters, 3. Alan Whitten, 4. Tom Matthews, 5. Sean Shuttleworth, 6. Massimo Kiri Kiri, 7. Cameron Barr, 8. John Andress, 9. Paul Marshall, 10. Richard McCarthy, 11. Ross O’Donnell, 12. David Scott (Capt), 13. Wayne Kelly, 14. Donal Moloney, 15. Colm Cregan, 16. Erin Wagner, 17. David McGovern.

Points scorers: Colm Cregan 3 x tries, Massimo Kiri Kiri 1 x try, 1 x Penalty try + con, Richard McCarthy 3 x cons.

Carrickfergus team: 1. Adam Gibney, 2. Alan Whitley, 3. Paul Greenaway, 4. Chris Rodgers, 5. Mark Ferris, 6. Ryan McGonigle, 7. Ryan Gibson, 8. Nathan Greenwood, 9. Conor Cambridge, 10. Adam White, 11. Ross Crymble, 12. Fionn McCormack, 13. Reece Berry, 14. Brian Alexander, 15. David Moore, 16. Gareth McKeown, 17. Jack Burton.

Points scorers: Gareth McKeown 2 x tries, Adam White, Ryan Gibson 1 x try each, Fionn McCormack 2 x cons.

Portadown 14 Enniskillen 23

Portadown team: 1. Mark Henderson, 2. Robert Reid, 3. Matthew Davison, 4. Matt Stevens, 5. Danny Alexander, 6. Gary Hall, 7. Jordan Taylor, 8. James Wright. 9. Brian Forrestal, 10. Brett Flack, 11. Jack Orr, 12. Mark Adamson, 13. Tom Ceaser, 14. Josh Matchett, 15. Luke Ashton, 16. Conor Webster, 17. Stuart Lamb.

Points scorers: Tom Ceaser 1 x try, Mark Adamson 1 x try and 2 x cons.

Enniskillen team: 1. Gavin Warrington, 2. Ryan Cathcart (Capt), 3. Gareth Beatty, 4. David Buchanan, 5. Jamie Kelly, 6. Jack Rutledge, 7. John Arnold, 8. James Carleton, 9. Nick Finlay, 10. Adam Lendrum, 11. Matthew Dane, 12. Tyler Millar, 13. James Ferguson, 14. Mark O’Shea, 15. Ashley Finlay, 16. Steven Fox, 17. Gary Thornton.

Points scorers: 1 x penalty try + con, Nick Finlay 1 x try, 1 x con and 3 x pens (16 x points)



Cooke 0 Ballyclare 26. Played Tuesday 12.3.19.

Cooke team: 1. Ian Moxen, 2. Curtis Montgomery, 3. Jonathan McClune, 4. Joe Russell, 5. Josh Harper, 6. Matthew Elliott. 7. Matthew McCormick, 8. Luke Tarry, 9. Ryan Flavelle (Capt), 10. Andrew Hanna, 11. Andrew Nelson, 12.Alan Gouley, 13. Jonny Kingham, 14. Philip Wood, 15. Alex Gourley, 16. Andrew Pollock, 17. Declan McClements.

Points scorers:

Ballyclare team: 1. Dean Jones, 2. Matthew Coulter, 3. Al Boyd, 4. Ryan Tweed, 5. Robert Boyd, 6. Aaron Playfair, 7. Gary Weatherup, 8. David Clarke, 9. Andy Eastop, 10. Niall Lawther, 11. Michael Kirk, 12. Joel McBride, 13. Willie Stewart, 14. Owen Kirk, 15. Gary Clotworthy, 16. Jack Black, 17. Grant Bartley.

Points scorers: Dave Clarke 2 x tries, Joel McBride, Matthew Coulter 1 x try each, Gary Clotworthy 3 x cons.


Ballynahinch seconds 5 City of Armagh seconds 22

Ballynahinch seconds team: 1. Harry McCormick, 2. Graham McKittrick, 3. Robert Gilmore, 4. Adam Keed, 5. Tom Martin, 6. Andrew Foster, 7. Stuart Elwood, 8. Brian Howard, 9. Lewis Finlay, 10. Matthew Norton, 11. Joe Bingham, 12. Eamon McAnulty, 13. David Harris, 14. Connor Phillips, 15. James McBriar (Capt), 16. Sean Sweeney, 17. David Maguire.

Points scorers: David Harris 1 x try.

City of Armagh seconds team: 1. Jonny Clarke, 2. Peter Lamb, 3. Neil Lutton, 4. Stephen Morton (Capt), 5. Josh Kennedy, 6. Gareth McNeice, 7. Stuart Hooks, 8. Barry Finn, 9. Nathan Rogers, 10. Phil Pollack, 11. Misi Bogitini, 12. Matty Clarke, 13. John Faloon, 14. Dean Reynolds, 15. Kyle Faloon, 16. Daryl Morton, 17. Scott Armstrong.

Points scorers: John Faloon 2 x tries, Kyle Faloon 1 x try, 1 x pen, 2 x cons.

Banbridge seconds 17 Ballymena seconds 12. Played as a Double Header.

Banbridge seconds team: 1. Scott Cromie, 2. Andrew Jackson, 3. Ross Haughey, 4. Alex Megaw, 5. Robin Hewitt, 6. Martin Vorster, 7. John Wilson, 8. Ryan Hughes, 9. Frazer Wallace, 10. Neil Kilpatrick, 11. Chris Patterson, 12. Robin Thompson, 13. John Porter, 14. Callum Russell, 15. Aaron Kennedy, 16. Johnny McCreery, 17. Troy Pinion.

Points scorers: 1. Ross Haughey 1 x try, Aaron Kennedy 1 x try, 2 x cons, 1 x pen (12 xpoints)

Ballymena seconds team: 1. David Forsythe, 2. Andrew Ferguson, 3. Houston Bonnar, 4. Connor White, 5. Jonny Browne, 6. Ryan Mattison, 7. Reuben Russell, 8. Dominic Gallagher, 9. Chris Smith, 10. Steven Shaw, 11. Jonny McClelland, 12. Sam Millar, 13. Kane McIIroy, 14. Jack Lewis, 15. Scott Willoughby, 16. Josh Mark, 17. George Hargy.

Points scorers: Jack Lewis, Ryan Mattison 1 x try each, Sam Millar 1 x con.



Academy 55 Lisburn 5

Academy team: 1.Adam Martin, 2. Peter Jackson, 3. Troy Wilson, 4. Brian Cahill, 5. Jonny Torrens, 6. Curtis Scott, 7. Stuart Martin, 8. Richard Henderson (Capt), 9. David Kenny, 10. Chris Cooper, 11. Jamie Wilson, 12. Callum Lyle, 13. Mark Wylie, 14. Andy Eggleton, 15. Stevie Stewart, 16. Cathal Davis, 17. N/K

Points scorers: Stuart Martin 3 x tries, Mark Wylie, Andy Eggleton, Jonny Torrens, Brian Cahill, Richard Henderson 1 x try each, Chris Cooper 1 x try and 4 x cons.

Lisburn team:

Points scorers:

Ballymoney 37 Lurgan 0

Ballymoney team: 1. Matthew Blair, 2. Joel Heggarty, 3. Scott Gamble, 4. Danny Platt, 5. Russell Blair, 6. Connor Creith, 7. David McKeeman (Capt), 8. John McFetridge, 9. Matthew Steele, 10. John Hyndman, 11. Matthew Bell, 12. Kyle McAuley, 13. Martin Irwin, 14. Michael Armstrong, 15. James Cleland, 16. Peter Irvine, 17. Daniel Ramage.

Points scorers; Joel Heggarty, John McFetridge 2 x tries each, Peter Irvine, David McKeeman, 1 x try each, Michael Armstrong 1 x pen, John Hyndman 2 x cons.

Lurgan team: 1. Graham Currie, 2. Lee Allen, 3. Ryan Emerson, 4. Richard Shilliday, 5. Ben McCallister, 6. Sam Longstaff, 7. Lewis Lawson, 8. Dean Wilson (Capt), 9. Chris Jenks, 10. Dylan Gill, 11. Richard Hull, 12. Jack Wilson, 13. Ben McIIwaine, 14. Ryan Mooney, 15. Stephen Nolan, 16. Patrick McVey, 17. Matthew McConaghy.

Points scorers: Nil

Clogher Valley 24 Ards 3

Clogher Valley team: 1. Stephen McIIwaine, 2. Kyle Cobane, 3. Neil Henderson, 4. Eugene McKenna, 5. Michael Treanor (Capt), 6. David Sharkey, 7. Aaron Dunwoody, 8. Ryan Wilson, 9. Neil Trotter, 10. Paul Armstrong, 11. Fleming Agnew, 12. Rodney Bennett, 13. Reece Smyton, 14. Josh Coulter, 15. Ewan Haire, 16. Josh Fegan, 17. Mark McKenna.

Points s corers: Ewan Haire, Fleming Agnew 1 x try each, Paul Armstrong 2 x tries and 2 x cons ( 14 x points).

Ards team: 1. Andrew Foster (Captain), 2. Tom Arthur Donnan, 3. Matty Kane, 4. Robert Hull, 5. Ross Torney, 6. Paddy Bond, 7. Ryan Thompson, 8. Graeme Taylor, 9. Adam Currie, 10. Paul Cox, 11. Mark McLean, 12. Taylor Nutt, 13. David Armstrong, 14. Michael Taylor, 15. Aaron May, 16. Matthew Bell, 17. David Chivers.

Points scorers: Paul Cox 1 x pen.

Larne 29 UUC 20

Larne team : 1. Luke Burford, 2. Craig Gibson, 3. Jack Hill, 4. Matthew Crampsey, 5. Jonny Cole (Capt), 6. Ryan McAllister, 7. Micah Stevenson, 8. Eddie Hunter, 9. Ricky McIheron, 10. BJ McFaul, 11. Anton White, 12. Matthew Agnew, 13. Jordan Burns, 14. Jonny Hall, 15. Aaron McBride, 16. Dan Campbell, 17. Jacob Swann.

Points scorers: BJ McFaul 2 x tries, 1 x Penalty try + con, Aaron McBride 1 x try, 2 x cons and 1 x pen ( 12 x points).

UUC team: 1. James Blair, 2. Michael Blair, 3. Peter Hugh, 4. Jake Stevenson, 5. Ryan McKay, 6. Dan Morgan, 7. David Gilkinson, 8. Ollie Doherty, 9. Ryan Jackson, 10. David McCluggage, 11. Chris Allen, 12. Adam Johnston, 13. Ryan Ashfield, 14. Neil Stewart, 15. Hayden Maxwell, 16. Ross Purvis, 17. Lewis Henry.

Points scorers: Michael Smyth, Hayden Maxwell, ,1 x try each, David McCluggage 1 x con and 1 x pen.

Randalstown 23 Limavady 21

Randalstown team; 1. Neil Foster, 2. Scott Stevenson, 3. Gary Hume, 4. Dean McCroary, 5. Scott McClenaghan, 6. Ian Hume, 7. Kyle Hetherington, 8. David Smith (Capt), 9. Tommy Holland, 10. Martin Connolly, 11. Eoin Letters, 12. Ryan O’Dea, 13. Jordan Foster, 14. Chris Donnelly, 15. Michael Smith, 16. Marty O’Neill, 17. Jonny Fullerton.

Points scorers: Eoin Letters 1 x try, 1 x Penalty try + con, Martin Connolly 1 x con and 3 x pens.

Limavady team: 1. Rory Squires, 2. Bryn Davies, 3. Clive Scott, 4. Luke Montgomery, 5. Michael Rice, 6. Stuart Simpson, 7. Ben Riley, 8. Daniel Irvine, 9. Peter Wilson, 10. Gavin Martin, 11. Stewart Roddy, 12. Jodie McMurray, 13. Jamie ‘Mo’ Millar, 14. Mark Woods, 15. Matthew Haslett, 16. John McCollum, 17. Jim McCartney.

Points scorers: Jamie Millar, Daniel Irvine 1 x try each, Peter Wilson 1 x con and 3 x pens.


Donaghadee 53 Cavan 7

Monaghan 45 Holywood 0




Dolphin v Highfield. Played Friday 15.3.19. KO 8PM


Ballyclare v City of Armagh seconds

Clogher Valley v Enniskillen

Ballyclare v City of Armagh seconds

Both of these teams met in the Semi Finals of the River Rock Towns Cup last season with Ballyclare winning a closely fought semi – final 19 – 12 at the Palace Grounds. When the two teams met in their Conference league match at the Palace Grounds on the 17.11.18 – City of Armagh seconds won 30 – 24. Expect another close game at the Cloughan this weekend. This will be the third match in eight days for Ballyclare after recording league wins over Cooke and Coleraine. City of Armagh seconds warmed up for this tie with a 22 – 5 win over Ballynahinch seconds at Ballymacarn Park last Saturday winning 22 – 5 with centre John Faloon scoring two tries.

Ballyclare Head coach Mike McKeever: The coach was delighted to see his team negotiate the difficult weather conditions on Tuesday night to defeat Cooke at Shaws Bridge to move two points ahead of second place Instonians with one game remaining. It has been an exciting week for the coaches and players with the players able to put the rearranged game with Cooke behind them with the destination of the league title in their control. He is delighted to have a home semi – final in the Towns Cup with the strong squad they have assembled at Ballyclare able to compete this last couple of seasons. The squad have two big games coming up at the Cloughan with City of Armagh seconds on Saturday followed by Dromore on Saturday week. The benefit of having five bench replacements for the semi final allows the coaches to expose these players to more game time on the 1st xv. Last night they brought four extra players to Cooke in case any players were injured in the warm up. The team for this weekend is expected to be on similar lines to the last two games. Captain Grant Bartley is expected to be rotated with the two second rows with one dropping down to the bench for a place on Saturday. The bench is expected to include Robbie Reid, Jordan Birnie, Jack Black with either Callum Wilson or Ross Patterson making the replacements. The team have not loss in 2019 and have scored 80 tries in their 17 league matches. The coach is looking his players to extend their winning run. He is excited about the opportunities for the players this weekend to return to the Kingspan stadium on the 22nd April. Ballyclare are the current holders having defeated Portadown 27 – 6 in the 2018 Final.

City of Armagh coach Chris Parker: Matty Clarke will not be available this week. Harry Boyd is fit again to take his place in the team with Ollie Millar, Stuart Lester and Willie Martin available for selection. Both Jack Sleator and Gerard Treanor will also come into contention. Nathan Rogers has been playing well at scrum half for the seconds after missing the first half of the season. Number 8 Barry Finn is another player who has retuned from injury and has played in the last two games for the seconds. Injury rules out Luke Crozier with Andrew Magowan unavailable for the remainder of the season. The club have submitted 25 names to the Ulster Branch and are awaiting confirmation on their eligibility to play before the matchday 20 for Ballyclare is finalised. Both coaches Willy Faloon and Chris Parker will be looking after the team at Ballyclare. Back row forward Stuart Hooks made a welcome return against Dromore in the quarter finals scoring two tries. Full back Kyle Faloon is an elusive runner and will pose a real threat to the Ballyclare defence.

Clogher Valley v Enniskillen

Clogher Valley have a great tradition in the Towns Cup last contesting the 2015 Final after they lost 17 – 13 to Ballynhinch seconds. They had previously won the trophy in 2014, 2012 and 2011. The team remain undefeated in their last 10 games. Enniskillen contested the 2017 and 2016 Finals losing out to Ballynahinch seconds and Bangor. They are currently on an undefeated six match run.

Clogher Valley Head coach Stephen Bothwell: Injury rules out prop Stephen McWilliams with Philip Hopper returning to take his place in the front row. With five replacements allowed in the semi final the coach will add Timothy Smyton, Ross Finlay, Andrew Johnston to his replacements bench along with Josh Fegan and Mark McKenna. He is pleased with the impact both Rodney Bennett and Paul Armstrong have made on the 1st xv after returning from Dungannon RFC. Paul Armstrong in his role at out half has managed the team through their game plan that allows them to play rugby in the right areas of the pitch. Rodney Bennett has shown his prowess at centre scoring two tries in their quarter final win over Limavady. Numbers at training have remained steady with 32/33 players in attendance after the seconds reached the semi finals of the Crawford Cup with competition increasing for starting places. Stephen Bothwell knows his team will face a strong Enniskillen pack as he is hoping the weather conditions will prevail to allow his team to play their expansive game. That is the challenge his players face on Saturday.

Enniskillen Head coach Stevie Welsh: The confidence is up in the playing squad since Xmas. He feels their performances are all about their confidence . He is confident that if his team stick to the game plan they can get a result at Clogher Valley this weekend despite the great rivalry between the two teams. With the 3rd xv competing in the semi finals of the McCambley Cup this weekend playing resources will be stretched at the club. He welcomes back Jamie Johnston who will come into contention this week. Both Davy Taylor and Gareth Beatty are unavailable. Ricky Lee is another player to return from injury and train this week. Others who will come into contention for a place on the bench include Alan Ferguson, Richard Beatty and David Patton. The coach is expected to go with four forwards and one back – Conor Hoy on his bench. In the absence of Gareth Beatty, Steven Fox played 80 minutes at Portadown last Saturday in the front row. He is expected to start in the front row this week. The coaches were delighted to have a full squad training on Tuesday night. He is also indebted to physio Jonny Hegarty who has played a key role in keeping players fit for this busy schedule. Second row Gavin Parke remains on the injured list and is targeting a return if the team make the Towns Cup Final. Players stepping up are Jamie Kelly who replaced Gavin Parke in the second row while Nick Finlay has added experience and leadership at scrum half. The coach is delighted to see the talented Tyler Millar committing himself to training and making an big impact on the 1st xv backline alongside James Ferguson.

The coach is expecting a tight game against Clogher Valley. For his squad it is all about the players focusing on their own game and imposing themselves on Clogher Valley in the first quarter. His team have earned the right to be in the semi – finals. He is confident that if they turn up they can win. This is Cup rugby, anything can happen.


Cooke v Grosvenor

Queens University seconds v Academy. Played Friday 15.3.19. KO 7.45PM

Cooke v Grosvenor

Cooke have a great tradition in competing in the McCrea Cup Final losing out to Malone seconds in recent seasons. I notice that Cooke did not play Callum Robinson, Jonathan Backus, Captain Kyle Mitchell , Andrew Quigley and Russell Hunter against Ballyclare after playing against CIYMS on Saturday.

Grosvenor Head coach Robert Ford: With a squad of 20 players to select for the match against Cooke on Saturday the coach will finalise his selection on Thursday night. He will welcome back Pearce Jamison and Andrew Kelly to his squad this week. Injury rules out Stuart McIIwaine and Cameron Knell with Mark Cartmill, Ben Coard and Dean Swift unavailable. The Grosvenor squad is expected to be along the lines of 1. Mark Rainey, 2. Stuart Smyth, 3. Pearce Jamison, 4. Peter Dawson, 5. Willie Rea/Andrew Kelly, 6 – 8 Ben Davies, Sam Purdon, Connor McKee, Andrew Kelly, Jeff Mealiff, Daniel Bowden. 9. Allen McCluggage, 10. Peter Davison/ Adam Skelton, 11. David Egner, 12/13 Jos McConkey/Peter Davison/ Mitchell McComb, 14. Jonny Farquhar, 15. Adam Skelton/Matthew Fitzsimons. Bench replacements 16 – 20 TBC.

Head coach Robert Ford has been delighted with the performance of his playing squad after securing promotion to Div 1 this season. The team have guaranteed 4th place and a place in the AIL Junior Cup next season. There are no egos in the squad with this young group of players building on their progress over the last three years. With the second xv securing promotion to Provincial 1 this has added depth and quality to the playing squad.

The coach is expecting a tough game against a dogged Cooke side who performed well in their defeat against Ballyclare on Tuesday night. They have match winners in the two Gourley brothers Alex and Alan along with winger Andy Pollock. Grosvenor lost 14 -12 to Cooke in the league at Shawsbridge on the 19.1.19 when their back row put in an impressive performance. For the coach he is looking no further than Saturday. He is expecting a real tough test against Cooke. Grosvenor value the McCrea Cup and will be doing their best to win it this season.

Queens University seconds v Academy

This match will be played on the main pitch at the Dub on Friday night with two in form teams meeting in the semi finals of the McCrea Cup.

The Queens coach Colin Hamilton is looking forward to the match. He is expecting a number of changes to his starting xv with selection to be finalised on Thursday night. The front row will be selected from props Andrew Weir, Matthew Millar, David Chambers and Toby Jozwaik with two starting and two on bench alongside hooker Jack Sleator. Captain Callum Caldwell and Matty Kernohan are expected to continue in the second row. Reese Goddards and Andrew Walker are expected to start in the back row with Chris Fowler replacing Daniel Edgar at number 8. James Creighton will continue at scrum half with Robbie Johnston at out half. Curtis Dundas and Rory Nicholl will start in the centre. Chris Jennings who has scored 30 + tries this season will start on one wing with either Josh Rawlinson or Fal El Valve on the other wing with either Josh Rawlinson or Matthew McSorley at full back. Mark Gordon, Daniel Keane and Matthew Pentland will make up the remainder of the bench replacements.

The coach is looking his team to play the way they have been playing all season. He wants his team to take it to Academy from the whistle.

Academy Head coach Gareth Lynn: The coach will be without hooker Lee Moody who is ruled out for the remainder of the season. Out half Jordan Buchanan was injured against Ards and remains on the injured list. Back row Jamie Watts is another injury doubt who picked up an injury against Limavady. Prop Chris Nash has a shoulder injury and is hoping to come through a fitness test to play on Friday night. Back row keith Dobbin is out for the season after fracturing his hand in the match against Clogher Valley. Curtis Scott made his debut for the 1st xv against Lisburn along with John Gilkinson who took his place on the bench. Selection will be finalised on Thursday night.

The coach and his players are looking forward to the match against Queens on Friday night. He is looking his team to play their brand of rugby and compete against the students.


City of Armagh seconds v Banbridge seconds. Postponed

Ballymena seconds v Omagh seconds



Limavady v Ballymoney KO 1 PM

Ards v Randalstown

Ards v Randalstown

Ards Head coach John West is expecting his selection to the side that played at Clogher Valley. He is awaiting confirmation on availability of a couple of players before finalising selection on Thursday night.

Randalstown 1st xv Manager Willie Allen: Team will not be selected until after training on Thursday night. Unfortunately a number of last Saturday’s squad will not be available due to players having arranged a stag party on what was to be a free weekend.

Limavady v Ballymoney

Limavady Head coach Graeme Eastwood: Selection will be finalised on Thursday night with both Darren Corrigan and Jonny Lees undergoing late fitness tests. Hooker Bryn Davies is unavailable with the coach expecting a similar squad that played against Randalstown.

Ballymoney coach Jonny Hanna: The coaching team at Ballymoney are hoping to keep a similar team to the one that defeated Lurgan 37 – 0 last weekend. As this is a rearranged fixture the availability of players has to be confirmed before selection is finalised. His team are expecting a very tough game as Limavady need to win to stay in the promotion race. He feels his Ballymoney team have no pressure on them and can just go out to play rugby. He is hoping this approach will be enough to get the win.

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