The first 2011 Rugby World Cup qualifying match was kicked off by ‘Irish’ Trinidadian Brendan O’Farrell. A former Clongowes Wood College, Bective Rangers and Suttonians player, O’Farrell helped Trinidad and Tobago beat the Cayman Islands 39-12 last Sunday at the Truman Bodden Stadium in Georgetown, Grand Cayman.
O’Farrell, now 38, is the most capped old Clongownian with nearly 70 caps for Trinidad and Tobago. Current Ireland internationals Gordon D’Arcy and Rob Kearney are still well behind with 37 and 6 caps respectively.
Son of former Garryowen captain and Munster scrum half in the 1960s, Brian O’Farrell, and along with older brothers Kevin and Sean, Brendan has also represented the Trinidad and Tobago team – or ‘Calypso Warriors’ as they are known at Sevens tournaments all over the world but notably in Hong Kong and in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
A Leinster Schools Senior Cup winner in 1988, 20 year later Brendan is still going strong but, as he himself admits, starring in New Zealand in the 2011 Rugby World Cup might just be a bridge too far!
Not taking qualification for the tournament proper for granted, the tiny sunshine island side are motoring along nicely and will face Guyana in the final of the Caribbean 2011 Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament on Saturday.
The two sides won their respective semi-finals against Barbados and Bermuda in Georgetown.
The winner of the final will go on to play the winner of the Consur B championship, featuring Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, later this year.
O’Farrell played a starring role in his side’s semi final. Read the IRB match report below.
Barbados 0 Trinidad & Tobago 56
A first half full house – a try, penalty, drop goal and conversion – by veteran fly-half Brendan O’Farrell inspired Trinidad and Tobago to a perfect start against Barbados, and a lead they never looked like giving up.
O’Farrell dictated the game, keeping Barbados pinned in their own half for much of the match, and finished with a 24-point personal haul in a convincing 56-0 victory.
O’Farrell’s 40-yard drop goal, after only a few minutes, put the first points on the board and two tries by right winger Kidone Silverthorne, one for Peter Bacchus as well as a penalty try and O’Farrell’s own effort saw T&T to a comfortable and deserved 37-0 half-time lead.
After the break, O’Farrell continued in similar vein, scoring his second try before Rob Stone and Kelson Figuero also crossed to seal an impressive performance, and a final match-up with Guyana.