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Tour Warm-Up Match Preview: Barbarians v Ireland XV

Tour Warm-Up Match Preview: Barbarians v Ireland XV

A Ronan O’Gara-led Ireland team will be hoping to give the tour squad some momentum with a win over the Barbarians as they build for the three-match tour of New Zealand. Kingsholm, Gloucester’s home ground, is the venue for this non-cap fixture.

2012 SUMMER TOUR WARM-UP MATCH: Tuesday, May 29

BARBARIANS v IRELAND XV, Kingsholm, Gloucester, 7.45pm (updates on www.irishrugby.ie/live)

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Team News: The Ireland XV for the uncapped game against the Barbarians in Gloucester on Tuesday has been named. Ireland’s most capped player Ronan O’Gara will captain a side that contains a blend of youth and experience.

O’Gara is partnered at half-back by his Munster colleague Conor Murray, while Ulster duo Paddy Wallace and Darren Cave will form the centre partnership.

Keith Earls starts at full-back with the uncapped Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo making their first starts in a senior game on the wings.

Up front Brett Wilkinson and Declan Fitzpatrick will pack down on either side of Mike Sherry in an uncapped front row.

Dan Tuohy and Donnacha Ryan form a new second row partnership at this level, while Peter O’Mahony starts at number 8 with John Muldoon and Chris Henry completing the back row.

The game is not being televised by the Barbarians and updates direct from Kingsholm will be available on our O2 MatchDay Live service on www.irishrugby.ie/live.

Tickets for the match are available to purchase here.

Meanwhile, Munster and Ireland lock Mick O’Driscoll has been chosen to captain the Barbarians for the second match of their summer schedule.

The honour for O’Driscoll, who has captained Munster on a number of occasions, comes at the end of a season in which he confirmed his retirement from rugby.

The 33-year-old lock will be making his first ever appearance for the Barbarians, with Ulster prop John Afoa and Leinster’s Isa Nacewa also selected in a strong matchday squad.

There are seven of O’Driscoll’s Munster team-mates in the Ireland starting line-up for the game, and two more on the replacements bench.

Nacewa’s former provincial colleague Felipe Contepomi will wear the Baa Baas’ number 10 jersey, opposing Ronan O’Gara who has enjoyed many a duel with the Argentinian international over the years.

Gloucester’s own Mike Tindall and Rory Lawson will also start in the Barbarians’ back-line, with Cedric Heymans and Damien Traille sure to add some French flair to proceedings.

Afoa will be joined by Duncan Jones and Benoit August in a powerful front row, while Italy’s Cornelius van Zyl is set to pack down alongside O’Driscoll in the second row.

Georgian powerhouse Mamuka Gorgodze has been added to the back row along with fellow internationals Francois Louw and Raphael Lakafia.

In all, Barbarians coaches John Kirwan and Grant Doorey have retained only four players from Sunday’s 57-26 loss to England at Twickenham – they are Paul Sackey, Tindall, Lawson and All Black Afoa.

BARBARIANS: Cedric Heymans (France); Paul Sackey (England), Mike Tindall (England), Damien Traille (France), Sailosi Tagicakibau (Samoa); Felipe Contepomi (Argentina), Rory Lawson (Scotland); Duncan Jones (Wales), Benoit August (France), John Afoa (New Zealand), Mick O’Driscoll (Ireland) (capt), Cornelius van Zyl (Italy), Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia), Francois Louw (South Africa), Raphael Lakafia (France).

Replacements: Aled de Malmanche (New Zealand), Neemia Tialata (New Zealand), Pelu Taele (Samoa), Akapusi Qera (Fiji), Richie Rees (Wales), Stephen Donald (New Zealand), Isa Nacewa (Fiji).

IRELAND XV: Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster); Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster), Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Brett Wilkinson (Galwegians/Connacht), Mike Sherry (Garryowen/Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht), Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster).

Replacements: Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Ronan Loughney (Galwegians/Connacht), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), James Coughlan (Dolphin/Munster), Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Nevin Spence (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster).

Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Barbarians to win: 21/10; Draw: 25/1; Ireland XV to win: 1/3

Pre-Match Quotes: Ronan O’Gara (Ireland) – “I think it is important that we hit the ground with momentum. We have to take the tour to the Leinster lads because they have been playing all the rugby.

“It’s important we are fresh, dynamic and hugely motivated because it is a massive month ahead for Irish rugby. (New Zealand) is the most challenging place in the world to go to play rugby and it asks every question of you.

“You know you will be tested in every department. It’s important that we are in the right frame of mind. You can read little into the Barbarians game because it will be completely different from the people starting the first Test but there are opportunities for everyone.

“It is a squad game nowadays – you can see that from Heineken Cup rugby. You need a good 23 to win medals in that tournament. That goes up a notch when you play Test rugby.

“They love their rugby here in Gloucester, they’re very passionate about it and that’s exactly what you’d expect. It’ll be a challenging game for us. From our point of view, it’s important to just control the ball and see where that gets us.”

Felipe Contepomi (Barbarians) – “It’s such a traditional and unbelievable club, that it’s an honour to be invited to come and play for the Barbarians.

“It’s an experience that keeps the spirit of rugby going, it maintains the traditions of rugby, the things that we all love about the game. And having the opportunity to come and play with some of the best players in the world is great.

“I’ve been lucky throughout my career to play with so many great players but here, with the Barbarians, you’re surrounded by them!

“The beauty of it is that so many of these guys here are people who have been my opponents in the past.

“That’s one of the things that I love about this experience and about the game of rugby, getting to know people and making lasting friendships.”

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Mark Tainton

Irish Rugby TV: Darren Cave

Irish Rugby TV: Ireland Squad Announcement Press Conference

Recent Meetings –

2008: Summer Tour Warm-Up Match: Barbarians 14 Ireland XV 39, Kingsholm, Gloucester
2010: MasterCard Challenge Match: Ireland XV 23 Barbarians 29, Thomond Park

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