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Jennings To Sign Off With Barbarians

Jennings To Sign Off With Barbarians

Shane Jennings will make the final appearances of his professional career for the Barbarians against Ireland and England next week.

Flanker Shane Jennings will be joined by his Leinster team-mates, full-back Zane Kirchner and out-half Jimmy Gopperth, for the games against Ireland at Thomond Park (Thursday, May 28) and an England XV at Twickenham (Sunday, May 31).
They will line up alongside the likes of Joe Rokocoko, George Smith, Adam Jones, Alex Cuthbert and Thomas Waldrom for the famous invitational club that celebrates the 125th anniversary of its foundation this year.
Jennings brings down the curtain after 13 caps for Ireland and PRO12 and European Cup wins with Leinster, as well as a Premiership title in England during his two-season spell at Leicester Tigers.
He said farewell to the Leinster fans at the RDS earlier this month after a difficult PRO 12 and European campaign for his provincial side before getting the invitation to join the Barbarians from former Australia coach Robbie Deans.
“This will be my last go as a professional player. It’s a shame it didn’t end as I would have liked with Leinster but every cloud has a silver lining and I can’t wait to get going and to wear the jersey,” said Jennings.
“I grew up watching ‘101 Great Tries’ on video and Gareth Edwards scoring for the Barbarians, so it’s been something I’ve been aware of ever since then. 
“I did get called up a couple of years ago but couldn’t do it. It’s funny that I’m finally going to be able to do it against Ireland!”
While Leinster have rebuilding to do, there is a feel-good factor around rugby in Ireland after sustained international success that led to this season’s RBS 6 Nations title win and strong performances from the provinces.
But Jennings warns Ireland will have a tougher task to sustain level of performance on English soil in the autumn.
“Leinster haven’t been at their best but Connacht have done well to get into the play-off (against Gloucester), Munster and Ulster are still going well and the state of Irish rugby is very good at the moment,” he admitted.
“Confidence will be high but the fitness of the squad is important. It’s key that and the likes of Paul O’Connell and Johnny Sexton remain fit.
“Maybe managing expectations is a problem. We played well in the Six Nations but that doesn’t give you the automatic right to do well in a World Cup. 
“Potentially we could end up playing England in England (in the knockout stages) and that’s going to be very different. We learned a lesson at the Millennium Stadium against Wales. But if we get the balance right, it’s a great opportunity.”

Tickets for the Ireland v Barbarians match are priced from €;30 and family (1 adult & 1 junior) terrace packs from €;25 at www.ticketmaster.ie or 0818 719 300.

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