Quins aim to build on recent winning streak
A third successive AIL win beckons for Belfast Harlequins should they get the better of UL Bohemians at Deramore today, while Malone entertain Buccaneers with a tantalising two wins on the bounce on offer at Gibson Park.
Coincidentally, it was Buccs who Quins managed to beat last weekend when the visitors clung on to win 19-18 as coach Adam Larkin's side held on to bag four very valuable points.
This rare victory from a visit to Dubarry Park, coupled with the fact that Quins only narrowly lost to today's opponents Bohs down in Limerick in the first weekend of action back in October, will have galvanised the fifth-placed Deramore side to go after the visitors, who are currently two places and six points ahead.
Quins will again have Ricky Lutton – who was one of two of their number binned at Buccs –and Neil McComb to bring strength to their pack while, behind the scrum, the continued presence of Michael Heaney and Rory Scholes should be more than useful.
"We narrowly lost down there," Larkin said, "and this is a big opportunity for us to get another win under our belts."
As for Malone, their halting of an eight-game losing run at last week's Ulster derby clash at struggling Dungannon will have given them renewed confidence and they will certainly also want to see Taylor Acheson – who is on the bench – off for his year in Australia with the right result.
Malone coach Jacques Benade will be hoping the in-form Conor Joyce can create mayhem in Buccs' ranks while the front five – with Lee McClure in at loose-head prop for Ross Kane – need to produce another dominant effort after their hard work paid off against Gannon last week.
At half-back, Shane Kelly and John Creighton link up again at scrum-half and out-half respectively and centre Nathan Brown – who scored all Malone's points against Gannon – continues his partnership with Mark Gribben.
Elsewhere, bottom club Dungannon face an absolute must-win clash at Dublin University with the students one place and two points in front of Paddy Johns' men.
Gannon should have Peter Nelson, Adam Macklin and Stuart McCloskey all in harness for this vital encounter.
Up in Division 1A, Ballynahinch are in a similar position as the one-from-bottom side really have to see off basement side Garryowen in Limerick to keep in touch with St Mary's College, who will need to be overhauled as the Co Down side seek to survive in the top flight.
Hinch should have Harry McAleese starting at out-half today with David McIlwaine again featuring in midfield.