Rugby team check



The decree regarding international players means that Ballymena will be without their captain Gary Longwell this weekend. Coach Andre Bester must check on Derek Topping who missed the Blackrock win through injury but there is a possibility that Stanley McDowell could be available after a long-term injury.

Belfast Harlequins

No injury problems, they are likely to stick with the same side chosen for last weekend's postponed game against Shannon. Number eight Chris McCarey has recovered from a shoulder injury and will play.


No major injury concerns but will definitely be without New Zealand second row Ben Gissing, sent off last weekend against Terenure.

Cork Constitution

Ronan O'Gara is an absentee but there is some doubt surrounding the international availability issue. Clubs are unsure whether it is the starting XV or the squad of 22 from Ireland's match against South Africa who are not available. Scrumhalf Brian O'Meara and hooker Frankie Sheehan must await an indication. Better news is that Munster wing Anthony Horgan and centre Cian Mahony should be fit.


Coach Phil Werahiko is in the enviable position of having a fully fit squad. He has indicated that he will retain the same team that started last weekend's game. Leinster flanker Declan O'Brien enjoyed 20 minutes action but should start on the bench once again, as his rehabilitation from injury is carefully monitored.


Willie Anderson thinks that Jonathan Bell and Stephen Bell could be available after injury. He has to check on prop Justin Fitzpatrick's foot injury and also whether the Irish replacement front row is eligible to play. The latter consideration also relates to outhalf David Humphreys. Tyrone Howe and Ryan Constable will both miss out again.


Willie Ruane missed the victory over Young Munster with a leg problem and could be available while centre Tim Allnutt is nursing a few bumps and bruises.


Scrumhalf and captain Tom Tierney is once again sidelined with a groin strain while coach Andy Earl is not sure about flanker David Wallace's fitness after missing the Con game with a hand injury.


Second row Graham Quinn is definitely out with shoulder joint damage. Flankers Liam Toland and Stephen Rooney are both doubtful with leg injuries.


Coach Conor McDermott can not call upon the international trio of Peter Stringer, John Hayes and Anthony Foley for the visit of Terenure College. Frankie Roche is likely to miss the game with a damaged hand but Mick Galwey should be available.

St Mary's College

Denis Hickie and Malcolm O'Kelly are definitely out. Trevor Brennan (dead leg) and Gareth Gannon (shoulder) are doubtful. Captain Victor Costello should recover from a knee injury while there is a possibility that prop Emmet Byrne may have recovered from his back problem.

Terenure College

Derek Hegarty retired after 31 minutes against Clontarf suffering from flu. He will be available for the trip to Shannon but Terenure do not expect to have number eight Eric Miller for the weekend's most attractive match.

Young Munster

Coach Matt te Pou must be getting used to having to do without Peter Clohessy and Mike Mullins, a fate that once again befalls him this weekend for the game against Lansdowne.

Blackrock College

Coach Kevin West is resigned to being without Australian full-back Nathan Turner for another week as well as Brian O'Driscoll, who will be rested at the behest of the Irish management, but doesn't envisage any other problems and is hopeful that ex-Irish schools centre Gary Browne (hamstring) might be fit to return. They will select tomorrow while David Quinlan, on duty in yesterday's Varsity Match, should be available on December 30th against Terenure.