League 'on the way up'
Lansdowne coach Mike Ruddock expects this season's Ulster Bank League to build on last year's exciting season as he looks to guide his side to their third Division 1A title in four years.
"I believe it is on the way up," Ruddock enthused.
"I've coached in quite a few leagues. I've been around the block a bit. I've been in a number of different competitions at all sorts of levels. This league is very, very competitive."
Champions Lansdowne are without six of their forward pack this season as well as two backs and Ruddock knows the scale of the task that lies ahead.
"I've got a big job on my hands to rebuild my forward pack to the strength I had last year," he admitted.
"It's tough but I've got the benefit of last year's U-20s All-Ireland Cup winners, so it's a natural progression that we promote some of those guys."