It’s the penultimate weekend of the SBC season, which sees two important games in terms of playoff and relegation battles. All teams will be looking for a win this week, to carry into the final games next Sunday.
Dublin Rebels (2-4) @ Belfast Trojans (4-1-1)
Two teams well known to each other will once again go head to head this Sunday as the Dublin Rebels travel north to take on the Belfast Trojans. It has not been the season the Rebels were expecting, as the 10 time champions will not feature in the playoffs this year. The Trojans however are shaping up nicely for the last run in, sitting in second place with their playoff spot already confirmed.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Rebels given their long and triumphant history. The Rebels travelled to Cork in their most recent game to take on the Admirals, and fell to a 14-28 defeat. With playoffs now out of reach, the Rebels will be looking for two wins in their last two games to build on for the 2020 season. In 2018, the Rebels and Trojans met twice – once during the regular season where the Trojans won 21-14 then again in the playoffs where the Rebels beat the Trojans 30-26 to reach Shamrock Bowl XXXII.
The Trojans will be looking for some consistency as they count down the weeks to the playoffs. The year started well with back to back road wins before falling to a loss and a draw at home. They have won their last two games, including an impressive 32-12 win most recently on the road to UCD, but Trojans head coach James McKelvey isn’t looking any further than the task on hand on Sunday “I’ve been playing the Rebels for about 15 years and I expect this game to be no different than the rest – a tough physical encounter where the team that makes the fewest mistakes will come out on top.”
Location: Harlequins RFC, Belfast
Kick Off: 2pm
UL Vikings (1-5) @ West Dublin Rhinos (2-4)
A crucial game for both teams, who are fighting to be competing in the SBC next year. The Rhinos will confirm their SBC status for 2020 with a win or a tie in this game, however a loss would bring them right into the relegation mix and give the Vikings a much needed boost to their survival hopes. These teams last met in April of this year in Limerick, where the Rhinos returned home as 17-16 victors.
The Vikings sit bottom of the table, two points below the Knights who earned a vital draw against the Admirals last week. The Vikings will essentially need two wins in two weeks to stand a chance, but Vikings committee member Conor Whelan is feeling positive “This season has been a season of fine margins for us. We’ve been competitive in almost all of our games this season. Our last day out against the Knights is hopefully a turning point for us so we’ll look to tip the scales this Sunday against the Rhinos after losing out to them on the narrowest of margins back in April and keep ourselves competitive for SBC football.”
A fairly positive return for the Rhinos to the SBC, the step up is never easy but they have certainly been competitive throughout the year. Rhinos head coach Barry Bolton will be looking to secure their SBC status on Sunday and start to think about preparations for 2020 “This is a huge game for us. When we played the Vikings in Limerick we came away with a win by a single point. Though we’re at home this time, arguably the stakes are higher for both teams. A win for us secures SBC football in 2020 with a game to spare. A win for the Vikings takes them off the bottom of the table. There wasn’t much between us last go around, so I expect another slobber knocker of a game.”
Location: Castleknock College, Dublin
Kick Off: 2pm