Misfiring Quins keeping the faith
These are tough times for Belfast Harlequins, who are rooted to the foot of the 2A table and look destined to drop down another division.
Even so, the Deramore club, who have one win from 11 games, are still determined to build on the signs of improvement that have been visible over their last two games - defeats against Malone and Queen's University - though they do face quite a task today when hosting league leaders Highfield (kick-off 12.30pm).
"There has been improvement since Christmas," said Quins coach Andrew Gillespie, who mentioned the return of former Ulster prop Adam Macklin as having a galvanising effect. "Our forwards have definitely improved and against Highfield we're hoping to put in a performance."
Also in 2A, former leaders Banbridge travel to Cashel (kick-off 3pm) after shipping three straight AIL defeats and Dan Soper's squad need to reverse this trend to improve on fifth spot in the table.
Queen's University are at Blackrock College (kick-off 4.30pm) while Malone have no game this weekend having already racked up 12 outings by playing Sunday's Well in January.
In 2B, Armagh are at basement club Thomond (12.30pm) and the visitors will be very keen to atone for losing their last two games.
Elsewhere, City of Derry will bid to continue their revival when they host Old Crescent (12.30pm) while Dungannon are at Bective (2.30pm). Rainey host Tullamore in 2C (4.30pm) while injury-hit Bangor are at Seapoint (12.30pm) and need to halt their four-game losing run.
2A: Belfast Harlequins v Highfield, Blackrock v Queen's University, Cashel v Banbridge.
2B: City of Derry v Old Crescent, Thomond v Armagh, Bective v Dungannon.
2C: Midleton v Sligo, Rainey v Tullamore, Seapoint v Bangor.