Ireland welcome Baa Baas to Thomond
June 3, 2010
Alan Quinlan starts for the Barbarians at his home ground © Getty Images
Ireland have a daunting few weeks ahead as they prepare to tackle the All Blacks and Wallabies and Declan Kidney will want his fringe players to blow away a few cobwebs when they take on the Barbarians in Limerick on Friday night.
A sold-out crowd will pack Munster's Thomond Park to welcome a star-studded Baa Baas outfit, who were narrow losers in their Twickenham encounter with England last weekend, and cheer a youthful Irish side under the guidance of home favourite Ronan O'Gara.
A disappointing Six Nations finish against Scotland and failure for Leinster and Munster in both the Heineken Cup and Magners League knockout stages have left a mark on the Irish psyche, with a open, exciting hit-out perhaps the ideal tonic. England found out last weekend that this Barbarians side has more than a little grit and Ireland will need to be on their toes if they are to ensure a proper send-off.
Leinster centre Fergus McFadden is the one uncapped presence among the backs and he partners Connacht's Gavin Duffy, who will tour this summer following an injury to Keith Earls, in midfield. Peter Stringer is called in to partner O'Gara at halfback.
In the pack there is a brand-new second-row pairing as Ulster's Ed O'Donoghue and Dan Tuohy pack down in green for the first time. Completing the uncapped contingent is their regional team-mate Chris Henry, who starts at No.8.
The Barbarians have been in fine fettle during the preparations and will benefit from an added edge as Ireland's Alan Quinlan and Malcolm O'Kelly are named in the pack. Quinlan joins skipper Xavier Rush and Australia's George Smith in the back-row while O'Kelly will call time on an illustrious career at the end of the season.
Paul Warwick starts at fullback at his home ground and Clermont Auvergne's Brock James will bring plenty of confidence at fly-half after helping them break their French Championship duck last weekend. Another new face in the squad is Saracens' superb hooker Schalk Brits.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster) S Horgan (Leinster) G Duffy (Connacht) F McFadden (Leinster) A Trimble (Ulster) R O'Gara (Munster, capt) P Stringer (Munster) M Horan (Munster) S Cronin (Connacht) T Buckley (Munster) E O'Donoghue (Ulster) D Tuohy (Ulster) J Muldoon (Connacht) N Ronan (Munster) C Henry (Ulster)
Replacements: J Flannery (Munster) T Court (Ulster) M O'Driscoll (Munster) D Wallace (Munster) T O'Leary (Munster) J Sexton (Leinster) P Wallace (Ulster)
Barbarians: P Warwick (Munster); C Heymans (Toulouse), C Laulala (Cardiff Blues), S Rabeni (Leeds Carnegie), D Smith (Hurricanes); B James (Clermont Auvergne), Pe Mignoni (Toulon); D Barnes (Bath), S Brits (Saracens), C Johnston (Toulouse), J Thion (Biarritz), M O'Kelly (Leinster), A Quinlan (Munster), G Smith (Brumbies), X Rush (Cardiff Blues, capt)
Replacements: B August (Biarritz), J White (Leicester Tigers), R So'oialo (Hurricanes), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), B Kelleher (Toulouse), JB Elissalde (Toulouse), P Sackey (London Wasps)
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column