Terenure want freedom to travel for Hogan
TERENURE COLLEGE will not know until later in the week if their international scrum half Niall Hogan will be available for selection for the Insurance Corporation All Ireland League match against Old Wesley at Donnybrook on Saturday. Woogs is encountering difficulties getting a plane back to Dublin from his base in Oxford.
Hogan, who is currently studying at Oxford University, found that because of the Christmas holidays, all flights to Dublin are booked out from the various airports in England on Friday.
"As of now, nothing is available from any base in even relatively close proximity to Oxford, but we are hoping that the problem will resolved and that he will be available," said Terenure PRO Mick O'Mahony.
Hogan, who played in the Varsity Match last week, sat on the bench for Terenure last Saturday when Terenure lost to Garryowen, and is now available to the club for the rest of the season.
He returned to Oxford last Sunday and when attempts were made to make a return booking for next Friday, he discovered that all flights were booked. The weekend before Christmas is traditionally the busiest of the year.
Terenure have delayed selection and await fitness reports on prop Peter Bruce, second row Colin Potts, back row Joe Kelly.
Old Wesley name an unchanged side from the team that lost to Blackrock College by a point.
Blackrock College make one change from the side that won last Saturday for their league tie against Old Belvedere at Angle sea Road - and that is enforced. Former Terenure College player David Lynagh comes into the centre for Rory Kearns, who has a hamstring injury. Old Belvedere hope to field an unchanged side from the side that lost to Young Munster, but await fitness reports on hooker Paddy Kenny and fullback Peter McKenna, both of whom were injured last Saturday.
Ballymena, still in pursuit of their first league points, yesterday confirmed the appointment of former Springboks captain and coach, Nelie Smith, as their new director of rugby. Smith has signed a three-year contract. He takes over at a club where injury problems are severely restricting selection.
Already without interprovincials Simon Booth, Alan Robinson, Stephen Ritchie, and Sheldon Coulter, as well as their captain Colin Wallace, the club's problems were compounded last week when centre Michael Rainey, Richie's replacement at hooker, Richard, Kernohan and scrum half Mark Beattie were all injured. Understandably in those circumstances, Ballymena have had to delay selection of their side for the visit of Old Crescent, who also delay selection because of injury problems.
Defending champions Shannon show one change from the side that defeated Cork Constitution last week for their visit to St Mary's College. Kieran Maher comes into the second row for John Hayes, an influenza victim.
St Mary's, who, like Shannon, have full points, have delayed selection as they await fitness reports on Ray McIlreavy (knee), Fergal Campion (ankle), Barry Browne (hamstring), Emmet Byrne (ankle) and Steve Jameson (knee).
Young Munster have named the same side that defeated Old Belvedere for the visit of Cork Constitution on Saturday. Their only doubt centres on hooker Mark Fitzgerald, who has a neck injury. Constitution have delayed selection, pending a fitness report on prop Ian Murray.
Lansdowne, another club with a 100 per cent league record, also hope to be unaltered from the team that defeated Old Crescent for the visit of Instonians but there is some anxiety about the fitness of hooker and captain Mark McDermott, who is under treatment for a rib injury.
It is anticipated that scrum half David O'Mahony, who sustained a neck injury last Saturday, will be fit. Instonians make just one change from the side that lost to St Mary's College and that is at out-half where Stewart Irwin replaces Simon Bond.
Garryowen may have their captain, Paul Hogan, back for the visit of Dungannon on Saturday. He missed the win over Terenure because of a thigh injury, as did out-half Killian Keane, because of an ankle injury. If both are fit, they will be in the side that takes on a Dungannon team not surprisingly unchanged after their big win over Ballymena last week.
Swansea hope to sign 24-year-old South African Joos Joubert, cousin of Springbok full-back Andre Joubert.