Malone clash gets the new rugby season 
underway at Rifle Park

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The Ulster club rugby season begins in earnest this week with a full programme of Championship League games.

Banbridge host Malone at Rifle Park on Thursday evening, kick-off 7.30pm. Bann played a practice game at Belfast Harlequins last Saturday and although they conceded three tries without reply, coach Daniel Soper will have been pleased with the overall performance.

Stuart Cromie put in a workmanlike display at tight-head prop and the back row which started the game, consisting of Dale Carson, Stephen Irvine and Jonny Graham, worked well as a unit.

The tackling of Carson in particular was impressive, but all three will know that replacement flanker Matthew Irvine asked questions of the ‘Quins defence following his introduction.

If the kicking of out-half Shannon Scott showed a little early season rust, his running threatened the home defence, with one searing break almost producing a try. Debutant Philip Lunn had a solid 40 minutes at inside centre, but overall the Bann threequarters were given little room to operate by ‘Quins’ rush defence.

Soper will be looking for a positive start and a number of wins to boost confidence.

Bann Seconds travel to Malone on Saturday for their opening game of the season, kick-off 2.30pm.