British and Irish lion Rory Best will be at Rifle Park on Saturday as Banbridge RFC open their newly refurbished pitch and with him will be the Six Nations Trophy.
The action kicks off at 2pm when Banbridge U18s will take on Ulster U17s. That will be followed at 4pm by the main event, with Banbridge tackling local rivals Ballynahinch. At half–time in the senior game, Banbridge U10s and U11s will tackle their ‘Hinch counterparts.
With the AIL season kicking off earlier than ever, the senior sides will want to make the most of this opportunity to test their match-readiness.
The President of the Irish Rugby Football Union, Mr Louis Magee, will be the special guest at the official opening of the new surface.
The ambitious local club has spent over £100,000 bringing the pitch up to All-Ireland League standard and providing additional car parking.
Banbridge President Alan Harvey said that this latest development of the club’s facilities had only come about because of support from the local Council and the IRFU.
“We were able to benefit from a grant provided by Banbridge District Council and a loan supported by the IRFU,” he said as he anticipated Saturday’s events.
“We still had to put in a major fundraising effort and in that we had great support from all sections of the club and the local community. We intend to play all our All-Ireland League games on the new pitch but of course our mini and youth sections will also be able to avail of the excellent playing surface during the season.”