BUCCANEERS make their solitary trip north this season when they travel to Belfast to square up to Queen’s University at The Dub on Saturday. Kick-off for this Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B game is 2.30 p.m.

Queen’s are likely to be still smarting from the playoff home defeat to Buccs that delayed their promotion to 1B until this season. They have won two and lost two matches to date, their opening three games being high-scoring affairs, but were defeated at Blackrock 17-7 last weekend. The Students line-up is, like Buccs, much changed from their last meeting but James Humphreys (son of incoming IRFU Performance Director David) is a very able flyhalf while Ben Gibson, Jonny Hunter and Robbie Johnston are other familiar names in their backline. Lorcan McLoughlin and Harry Long are key components in the pack.

Buccs are now the only team in all five AIL divisions to remain pointless and need a spark from somewhere to ignite their campaign. Shane Layden returns after a lengthy injury lay-off with Liam McNamara debuting in Belfast. The Pirates showed in the final quarter against Old Belvedere that there is potential in their ranks but more sustained and disciplined efforts are needed to get returns.

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BUCCANEERS U-20s and Seconds both have home fixtures against Corinthians this weekend. First up the Seconds face their Corinthians counterparts in the Bank of Ireland Connacht J1B League under the Dubarry Park floodlights on Saturday, kick-off 7.30 p.m. Corinthians top the table but have a game more played than their hosts. They lost their opening tie away to Ballinasloe whom the Pirates defeated. A close encounter looks likely.

A tight contest also looks in prospect when the same clubs go head to head in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 in Athlone on Sunday. Corinthians are just a point behind Greystones in this league and enjoyed a clearcut home win over DLSP last Sunday. Buccs let a win slip from their grasp at leaders Greystones but they had the edge over Corinthians when the sides met in the recent Connacht U-20 League decider at Dubarry Park. On home soil, provided their focus is what it needs to be, the Pirates can take the spoils.