Braidmen aiming for third All-Ireland League win

Ballymena coach Andy Graham.
Ballymena coach Andy Graham.

Ballymena Rugby Club coach Andy Graham hopes his side can make it three wins from three Ulster Bank All-Ireland League outings on Saturday.

The Braidmen are aiming to follow up on wins over Belfast Harlequins and Dolphin as they host Dublin University at Eaton Park.

“It is a super start and a couple of wins helps confidence, it is a very good group of players and they are play for each other,” said Graham, who is expecting a tough test from the students,

“Trinity are a very good side, we had two super games against them last year. We beat them at home and they pipped us down there with the final play of the game.

“Gone are the days when you could bully a student side up front. Trinity have a very good pack and they play for 80 minutes and will keep coming at you until the final whistle.

“I think that now we’re a bit older that we know you have to earn the right to win games and can’t take anything for granted.”

Ballymena are boosted by a number of Ulster and U20 players being released.

“You have to treat it as a one-off because you don’t know when you will get them again and it is very beneficial to have them as it gives me a chance to rest a few players,” added Graham.

Ulster hooker John Andrew is joined in the front row by loosehead Bryan Young and Ross Kane.

Alan O’Connor and David Whann will form the second row partnership.

Ulster backrow Clive Ross starts at open side flanker, Connor Smyth is at blindside and No8 Matthew Rea completes the pack.

Dave Shanahan is at scrumhalf with Ritchie McMaster at No10.

There is a debut for Ulster U20 centre Kieran Joyce and he is joined in midfield by the free scoring Callum Patterson.

Jordan Foster is unavailable so Johnny Rosborough starts on the wing with James Beattie on the other and Rodger McBurney at full back.

Ulster U20 captain Adam McBurney is among the replacements.