Saturday, December 08, 2012

British & Irish Cup Rd3–the provincial selections

I call it the “Bandie Cup” and I really wish this would catch on or even better the powers that be would lower their asking price and get the tournament a sponsor.  Actually scratch those wishes – first and foremost I’d want a dedicated website for the competition.

Anyway…on a weekend of crucial Heineken Cup battles it’s very possible that the four provinces’ latest outings in this lower-tier tournament could fly under the radar, so here you can see all the latest standings & selections in the one spot.

Remember only the pool winners advance in this tournament.  It looks like Connacht’s chances are slim to none but still their double bill with last season’s finalists Cross Keys will be a good chance for their fringe players to show they deserve a shot in the senior team. 

Despite their shock defeat in Pontypridd in round 2, Leinster A are the only Irish side to actually top their pool and will want to take maximum points off bottom-of-the-Championship Jersey to consolidate this position.  Rhys Ruddock leads a strong side packed with Pro12 experience over to the Channel Islands today.

The Ulster Ravens lost their opener in Bristol but with a couple of victories over Cardiff, who sit at mid-table in the Welsh Premiership, can stay in touch knowing the Championship outfit have still to visit Ravenhill.  With the senior side doing so well, there will be plenty of Ravens looking to impress.

Finally the side with the biggest challenge over the next two weekends are the cup holders Munster – their back-to-back series with the Rotherham Titans could well decide who wins the pool.  They send a strong squad to Clifton Lane including JJ Hanrahan, Danny Barnes, Johne Murphy and Denis Hurley, while the Titans have at out-half the young Ulster prospect James McKinney.

Best of luck to all four sides this weekend. Stay tuned to the provincial twitter feeds for score updates. JLP

POOL ONE – ULSTER RAVENS

Ulster BandI

Saturday, 8 December 2012   Bridgend v Bristol 14:30   Ulster v Cardiff 14:30

(15-9): Adam D’Arcy; Ricky Andrew, Michael Allen, Niall O’Connor, Chris Cochrane; Stuart Olding, Michael Heaney;

(1-8): Conor Carey, Niall Annett, Richard Lutton, James Simpson, Neil McComb (capt), Conor Joyce, Ali Birch, Mike McComish;

Replacements (16-22): Rob Herring, Adam Macklin, Alan O’Connor, Sean O’Connell, Blane McIlroy, Stuart McCloskey, Rory Scholes. 

POOL FOUR – CONNACHT EAGLES

Connacht BandI

Saturday, 8 December 2012   Cross Keys v Connacht 14:30   Newport v Newcastle 14:30

15 James Loxton 14 Mark McCrea 13 Tadhg Leader 12 Brian Murphy 11 Matt Healy 10 Jack Carty 09 Dave Moore

01 Rob Sweeney 02 Kevin O’Byrne 03 Peter Reilly 04 Jonathan Gardiner 05 Dave Gannon 06 Dave Heffernan 07 Eoghan Grace (C) 08 Aaron Conneely

16 Kurt Haupt 17 Paul Griffin 18 Conor Kindregan 19 TJ Anderson 20 Marcus Walsh 21 Finn Gormley 22 Steve Toal-Lennon

POOL FIVE – LEINSTER “A”

Leinster BandI

Saturday, 8 December 2012 Jersey v Leinster, 15:00

Sunday, 9 December 2012  Leeds Carnegie v Pontypridd, 15:00

15: Cathal Marsh 14: Andrew Boyle 13: Brendan Macken 12: Jordan Coghlan 11: Adam Byrne 10: Noel Reid 9: John Cooney

1: Jack O’Connell 2: Aaron Dundon 3: Jamie Hagan 4: Ben Marshall 5: Tom Denton 6: Rhys Ruddock CAPTAIN 7: Dominic Ryan 8: Leo Auva’a

16: Thomas Sexton 17: Martin Moore 18: Tadhg Beirne 19: Conor Gilsenan 20: Luke McGrath 21: Tom Daly 22: Steve Crosbie

POOL SEVEN – MUNSTER “A”

Munster BandI

Saturday, 8 December 2012  Rotherham Titans v Munster, 14:00  Aberavon v Plymouth Albion, 14:30

Denis Hurley; Luke O'Dea, Danny Barnes, Ivan Dineen, Johne Murphy; JJ Hanrahan, Cathal Sheridan;

James Cronin, Sean Henry, John Ryan; Dave Foley, Ian Nagle; Brian Hayes, Ryan Murphy, Shane Buckley.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, Christy Condon, Philip Donnellan, Jack O'Donoghue, Brian Slater, Scott Deasy, Ronan O'Mahony.

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