Baa-Baas make historic visit to Thomond Park

Graham Rowntree's URC winners Munster host Barbarians at Thomond Park on Saturday. Photo: David Fitzgerald.

WITH the country gripped in rugby fever (and with giant-killing Ireland on a deserved weekend break from World Cup 2023 after beating South Africa), there should be huge interest in the historic double-header between Munster and the Barbarians at Thomond Park on Saturday.

The action gets under way with the women’s fixture at 2pm (gates open from 1pm, with the URC Trophy on display in the Fan Zone) followed by the men’s tie at 4.30pm.

Munster Rugby’s Head of Commercial and Marketing, Dave Kavanagh, said of the clash: “Thomond Park is all set for a special occasion when the Barbarians come to town. It’s a first for Munster Rugby as we host a historic double-header with the women’s and men’s sides both in action against the invitational touring side.”

“It has been six years since the women’s teams faced each other and it will be a first encounter for the men’s side. We have a rich history in playing touring teams and I know both squads are really looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of home support.”

He added: “It will be over six months since we last played in Thomond Park so it should be a great day out with a festival of rugby in store for all.”

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Barbarians, under the guidance of Stade Toulousain coaches Jerome Kaino, Clement Poitrenaud, and Virgile Lacombe, are the most famous invitational touring team and their announced a stellar international starting XV.

An impressive souvenir programme will be on sale at the venue, while some prizes for early attendees will include signed balls and future match tickets.

Munster have engaged in a couple of pre-seasons friendly of late, losing to Leinster and winning against Connacht.

In the win over the westerners at the weekend, coach Graham Rowntree – who has just signed a two-year extension that will keep Munster’s URC winning coach with the province until at least 2026 – again used the opportunity to introduce, alongside established figures, fringe players such as Academy members Ethan Coughlan (Shannon), Shay McCarthy (Young Munster), and Kieran Ryan (Shannon), while the outing marked a debut for Josh Costello of Shannon.

Munster (v Connacht): Simon Zebo; Shay McCarthy, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell, Calvin Nash; Joey Carbery, Ethan Coughlan; Josh Wycherley, Diarmuid Barron, Stephen Archer; Gavin Coombes, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (captain), John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Kieran Ryan, John Ryan, Tom Ahern, Jack Daly, Neil Cronin, Stephen Kiely, Josh Costello.