Joe Schmidt and his coaching team will run the rule over a number of young guns and returning capped players when their Ireland selection welcomes the Barbarians to Thomond Park tonight.
BARBARIANS SUMMER TOUR MATCH: Thursday, May 28
IRELAND XV v BARBARIANS, Thomond Park, 7.45pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD/updates on www.twitter.com/irishrugby)
Team News: Jamie Heaslip will captain an Ireland XV that contains two uncapped players in the starting line-up and a further three among the replacements.
Clontarf’s Colm O’Shea (pictured below) will start in the centre alongside Luke Marshall, who last played for Ireland against Argentina on the 2014 summer tour.
Rob Kearney, Dave Kearney and Craig Gilroy make up the back-three, while Leinster duo Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan are the starting half-backs.
Up front, the uncapped Tadhg Furlong will pack down alongside his provincial colleagues Richardt Strauss and Jack McGrath. Dan Tuohy partners Devin Toner in the second row.
Chris Henry will make a welcome return to the green jersey in the back row with Robbie Diack and skipper Heaslip completing the pack.
Ben Marshall, who has just signed for Connacht, Luke McGrath and Ulster Bank League Division 1A Rising Star of the Year winner, Cian Kelleher, are the three uncapped players on the bench.
Meanwhile, retiring Leinster and Ireland flanker Shane Jennings will lead a Barbarians team containing nine different nationalities with 466 international appearances between them.
Jennings retires from the professional game this summer after a distinguished career in which he has won 13 caps for Ireland, PRO12 and European Cup titles for Leinster and an Aviva Premiership title with Leicester Tigers.
The selected Barbarians side includes Jennings’ Leinster team-mates Zane Kirchner and Jimmy Gopperth with Ulster scrum half Ruan Pienaar also starting for the famous invitation club celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Former Leinster lock Nathan Hines is also a late addition to the bench.
Baa Baas head coach Robbie Deans has assembled a side with a sharp cutting edge containing the likes of Toulon’s leading try scorer David Smith, New Zealand’s Joe Rokocoko and British & Irish Lions winger Alex Cuthbert.
Lions tighthead prop Adam Jones anchors a scrum containing a powerful second row combination in Uruguay’s Rodrigo Capo Ortega and Georgian Konstantin Mikautadze, while Japan’s Ryu Koliniasi Holani is a dynamic number 8 from Deans’ club side Panasonic Wild Knights.
IRELAND XV: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster), Colm O’Shea (Clontarf/Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster), Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster); Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), Robbie Diack (Malone/Ulster), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (capt).
Replacements: Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Michael Bent (Dublin University/Leinster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Ben Marshall (Old Belvedere/Connacht), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster), Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster).
BARBARIANS: Zane Kirchner (Leinster/South Africa); Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Joe Rokocoko (Bayonne/New Zealand), Wynand Olivier (Montpellier/South Africa), David Smith (Toulon); Jimmy Gopperth (Leinster), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster/South Africa); Roberto Tejerizo (Tucuman/Argentina), Deon Fourie (Lyon), Adam Jones (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Rodrigo Capo Ortega (Castres Olympique/Uruguay), Konstantin Mikautadze (Toulon/Georgia), Shane Jennings (Leinster/Ireland) (capt), Gerhard Vosloo (Toulon), Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Panasonic Wild Knights/Japan).
Replacements: David Ward (Harlequins), Saimone Taumoepeau (Castres Olympique/New Zealand), Matias Diaz (Pampas/Argentina), Nathan Hines (Sale Sharks/Scotland), George Smith (Lyon/Australia), Tomas Cubelli (Belgrano Ath/Argentina), Tusi Pisi (Suntory Sungoliath/Samoa), Gio Aplon (Grenoble/South Africa).
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson, Andy Brace (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland XV to win: 2/9; Draw: 25/1; Barbarians to win: 3/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Joe Schmidt (Ireland XV) – “One of the strengths we might have over the Barbarians is that we know a little bit more about one another as opposed to being thrown together. I certainly want to have a look at all 23 named players just to see, it is a good opportunity for Tadhg Furlong to put his hand up with Marty Moore off the scene with a bit of injury.
“Then you have a few of the others, Nathan White coming back off injury, Rodney (Ah You) has played a lot, Stephen Archer is involved this weekend (in the PRO12 final) so it is a good opportunity for Tadhg to demonstrate that aggression we have seen from his through the season. Those sorts of players are of real interest to us.
“Dan Tuohy hasn’t been in our environment for a long time and we wanted to try to get a good 50 or 60 minutes out of Dan and just track where he has got to since he has come back from his arm injury. So, as much as anything, it will be a little bit of a baseline on where some of the players are.
“Chris Henry was very much in our thoughts right through the Six Nations last season, he played right through that. He was very much starting against South Africa until the morning of the game when he had to be withdrawn.
“Since then I’ve stayed in touch with him a bit, tracking his progress, and his progress has been heartening. I think he’s been bubbling with enthusiasm and he’s demonstrated that at the two trainings, and he’ll demonstrate that at the game again on Thursday night.
“I think Cian Kelleher has a relatively special acceleration and balance, we think he is a very skilful player, very good under the ball and Colm O’Shea, well he has just been an incredibly unfortunate player.
“I remember him playing four or five years ago, remember him playing a really good game (for Leinster) away to Glasgow probably four years ago in horrible conditions and doing a great job for us.
“Since then he has had limited opportunities because he has come in and out of injuries during that period. I have seen glimpses that have been promising and I guess this is an opportunity to demonstrate a little bit more of that.”
Shane Jennings (Barbarians) – “It is a huge honour (to captain the Barbarians). I was very surprised, to be honest, I was actually quite shocked (when I was told). We want to make sure we enjoy it but also understand the responsibility that goes with playing for the Baa Baas.
“I think everybody is very aware of that, and even talking to all the lads, you can see that it means so much to them. These are guys that, if you look through the team, are seasoned professionals, seasoned internationals, and they understand what it means for people who’ve played in this club and people who will play in the club.
“It’s just fantastic, it’s incredible. I’ve always wanted to play for the Baa Baas and I’m delighted to get an opportunity. It’s funny, I have a new found respect for the United Nations after our lineout session this morning! We had Uruguayans, Japanese, Irish and English…trying to get calls and some idea of what we want to do was a challenge.
“Bu it’s brilliant because you’re rubbing shoulders with players you would have played against for years and would have respected. There’s a lot of talented players there, we just have to make sure that we get the ball, hold onto it and we can play well.”
Pre-Match Links –
BARBARIANS IN IRELAND
October 19, 1957: v Ulster Invitation XV (Belfast) W 14-11
September 16, 1970: v Wanderers (Dublin) W 30-9
September 10, 1991: v Constitution (Cork) W 39-9
September 12, 1991: v Old Wesley (Dublin) L 36-37
December 3, 1994: v South Africa (Dublin) W 23-15
May 18, 1996: v Ireland (Dublin) W 70-38
May 28, 2000: v Ireland (Dublin) W 31-30
June 4, 2010: v Ireland (Limerick) W 29-23
May 23, 2014: v Clontarf (Dublin) L 42-43
May 27, 2008: Barbarians played Ireland in Kingsholm, Gloucester. Ireland won 39-14
May 29, 2012: Barbarians played Ireland in Kingsholm, Gloucester. Barbarians won 29-28
Recent Meetings –
2008: Summer Tour Warm-Up Match: Barbarians 13 Ireland XV 39, Kingsholm, Gloucester
2010: MasterCard Challenge Match: Ireland XV 23 Barbarians 29, Thomond Park
2012: Summer Tour Warm-Up Match: Barbarians 29 Ireland XV 28, Kingsholm, Gloucester