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Rugby Shorts: March 21

Rugby Shorts: March 21

…Gibson, Kiernan Inducted to Twickenham Museum’s Wall Of Fame…Hooker Byrne Captains Barbarians…Registered Players For The Heineken Cup…Irish Rugby Legends’ Trip To Durban…

…Legendary full-back Tom Kiernan – who played 54 times for Ireland…

GIBSON, KIERNAN INDUCTED TO TWICKENHAM MUSEUM’S WALL OF FAME: Former Ireland internationals Mike Gibson and Tom Kiernan have become the latest players to be inducted to the Museum of Rugby’s Wall of Fame at Twickenham.

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Both still have vivid memories of the 1970 clash between England and Ireland at Twickenham – the year of, in the words of Gibson, “Tony O’Reilly’s guest appearance.”

Kiernan recalled: “It was the most unusual thing I experienced at Twickenham. We recalled Tony O’Reilly after seven years. He played ont the wing. He arrived by chaffeur driven car. He was managing director of Heinz UK at that time.

“He had not played since 1963 and had put on some weight in the meantime, although he was still playing for London Irish. There were jokes going on at the time that O’Reilly had been picked because Keith Fielding, his opposite number on the England right wing, would have run all the way around him to get past Tony, but he really wasn’t that fat.”

“Gibson, who earned 69 caps for Ireland at centre, added: “I roomed with Tony on that occasion. He has been criticised about playing but he still had class in his play even after seven years out of international rugby.”

HOOKER BYRNE CAPTAINS BARBARIANS: Current Ireland international Shane Byrne spent St. Patrick’s night captaining the Barbarians to victory in their annual clash with Leicester Tigers at Welford Road. The Baa-Baas won 52-42 in an 14-try thriller at Welford Road.

A crowd of 8,304 were treated to some brilliant running rugby. Saracens clubman Byrne played for 40 minutes before being taken off as one of eight switches for the Baa-Baas at half time. Leicester led 21-19 at the interval thanks to tries from Alesana Tuilagi, Scott Bemand and Ben Pienaar, all of which were converted by out-half Ian Humphreys, younger brother of Ulster and Ireland’s David. Steve Hanley, Inoke Afeaki and Simon Danielli crossed the whitewash early on for the Barbarians.

Having been left chasing the game in the final quarter, Scottish winger Danielli and Welsh back row Geraint Lewis, who were both making their debuts, touched down for the Baa-Baas’ seventh and eighth tries with United States international Mike Hercus added the extras to both to seal the win. Humphreys kicked six out of six conversion attempts for Leicester.

BARBARIANS: J Roff (Kubota/Australia); S Danielli (Border Reivers/Scotland), F Waters (Wasps/England), A Erinle (Wasps), S Hanley (Sale/England); M Hercus (Llanelli/USA), M Powell (Worcester); K Yates (Saracens/England), S Byrne (Saracens/Ireland) (capt), B Evans (Cardiff Blues/Wales), I Afeaki (LLanelli/Tonga), H Louw (Llanelli/South Africa), M Mustchin (Edinburgh), G Lewis (Bristol/Wales), S Sititi (Border Reivers/Samoa).

Replacements used: R Webber (Wasps) for Byrne, R Thomas (Newport Gwent Dragons) for Evans, M MacDonald (Worcester/USA) for Yates, N Budgett (Bristol/Wales) for Afeaki, G Chamberlain (Wales) for Sititi, D Edwards (London Irish) for Powell, M Stcherbina (Cardiff Blues) for Erinle, B Breeze (Newport Gwent Dragons) for Danielli.

…Mike Mullins shows his punching prowess to Munster fitness trainer Fergal O’Callaghan…

REGISTERED PLAYERS FOR THE HEINEKEN CUP: ERC (European Rugby Cup Ltd.) have confirmed the Heineken Cup quarter-finalists’ additional players for the knock-out stages of the competition.

As per Heineken Cup regulations, each of the quarter-finalists – including Leinster and Munster – had the opportunity to add up to two players in any position plus one further front row player to their squads for the last eight.

Leinster, who travel to Toulouse on April 1, have brought in Blackrock winger Gary Brown and St. Mary’s College out-half Jonathan Sexton, who has been playing for the Ireland Under-21s this season. Munster, who entertain Perpignan at Lansdowne Road on April 1, have brought in Christian Cullen and Mike Mullins, who both recently returned from long-term injuries.

Meanwhile, New Zealand-born centre Shaun Hegarty, who is of Irish origin, has been registered for Biarritz.

HEINEKEN CUP TEAM REGISTRATIONS: Bath – Taufaao Filise, Alexander Crockett, Fuimaono Elliot; Biarritz – Census Johnston, Shaun Hegarty, Marc Baget; Leicester – David Young, Seru Rabeni, Scott Bemand; LEINSTER – Gary Brown, Jonathan Sexton; MUNSTER – Christian Cullen, Mike Mullins; Perpignan – Brice Mach, Jean Pierre Perez, Juan Martin Berberian; Sale Sharks – Eifion Lewis Roberts, David Tait, David Blair; Toulouse – Slade McFarland, Melell Kunavore, Benoit Baby

IRISH RUGBY LEGENDS’ TRIP TO DURBAN: Some of Ireland’s greatest players in recent years are set to line out for an Irish Rugby Legends XV at the World Legends Rugby Festival in Durban, South Africa in June.

The Irish Rugby Legends scheme has been formed by a group of ex-internationals as a vehicle for ex-players in Ireland to put something back into rugby. The Legends’ aim is to promote “the brotherhood of amateur rugby across all sectors of the rugby playing fraternity” and promot the ethos that: “Every Year Must Be The Year Of The Club.” All profits generated by the Legends scheme will be ploughed back into grass roots rugby.

The Irish Legends will travel to Durban on June 16 and return home on June 25. A full Festival programme will be published on www.irishlegendsrugby.ie in the near future. The Irish Legends are currently finalising travel packages which will allow supporters to stay at the same hotel as the team and will also allow access to all the Festival events and associated transportation. Further information is available by emailing enquiries@irishlegendsrugby.ie

Players expected to take part fothe Irish Legends include Mick Galwey (captain), Peter Clohessy, Paddy Johns, Nick Popplewell, Eric Miller, Victor Costello, Dion O’Cuinneagain, Justin Bishop, Conor O’Shea, Simon Geoghegan, Keith Crossan, Eric Elwood, Brian O’Meara and Simon Mason. Former Lions Paul Wallace and Jeremy Davidson will be acting as team manager and head coach.