Banbridge must make history to take another Division 2A victory at Cashel

Banbridge have had a blistering first half to the season and have won seven of their ten Ulster Bank League matches so far. INBL1540-307PB
Banbridge have had a blistering first half to the season and have won seven of their ten Ulster Bank League matches so far. INBL1540-307PB
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Banbridge RFC need to buck the trend this weekend.

They travel to face Tipperary side Cashel in Division 2A (kick-off 2.30pm) knowing they’ll have to make history to get a win.

In the five All Ireland Legaue meetings between the teams, the home side has come out on top every single time.

“Before we played them last time, I was keen to point out that the home team always seems to win when we meet. We were happy with that last time but now it’s up to us to break that cycle,” said Bann Head Coach Daniel Soper.

“They’re a good team. They’re abrasive and they’re dangerous if you give their backs time and space.”

Banbridge’s rock-solid defence simply weren’t for affording those privileges when the sides last met just six weeks ago at Rifle Park.

The hosts scored four tries in poor conditions while allowing Cashel to score only once.

That resulted in a convincing 28-5 victory but, away from home, Soper isn’t expecting such a routine victory.

In fact, Bann’s next three matches could prove somewhat difficult as they come up against three of the chasing pack, hunting down the league leaders.

After the trip to Cashel, Bann welcome University College Cork to Rifle Park and then travel to Naas.

“Every time we start another block, I say something about it being a season defining period,” said Soper, keen not to repeat himself. “That’s the nature of the league because it’s so tight.

“These next three games are against teams right in the mix.

“We knew before Christmas that if we could beat Queen’s, we could put a gap in between us so it’s the same against Cashel.”

For Saturday’s trip, Bann are hoping to welcome back flankers Nico Vorster and Dale Carson, who have been out with injury.

Soper said: “Nico is on his way back after a knee injury so we’ll have to see how he’s getting on and hopefully he can get back in.

“Dale will come back into the squad too. We’ll probably go with that experience if we can but it’s great that we have the younger guys to call on if we need to.”

Whatever the starting XV, Bann will be making the 363 mile round trip to Spafield in one day. They are, after all, fond of their home comforts.

“We’ve learnt from experience that we are better off just getting up early and driving down,” said Soper. “It lets the guys sleep in their own beds and stops the farmers getting frustrated at being away from the yard for too long!”