FORMER Wallaby coach Robbie Deans will coach the Barbarians in their glamour fixture with Ireland at Thomond Park on Thursday, May 28.
The fixture forms part of the Barbarians’ summer tour, with Deans also taking charge of the Baa Baas for a game against England at Twickenham on Sunday, May 31.
Ireland lost to the Baa-Baas 29-23 at Limerick’s Thomond Park in their previous meeting on Shannonside in 2010.
2015 marks the 125th anniversary of Barbarian rugby, founded in April 9, 2015 and the fact makes its summer Tour fixtures against Ireland and England even more significant.
Robbie Deans, who led the Wallabies from 2008 to 2013, is assembling a high quality Barbarians side for the Limerick fixture with Ireland. Already Australia’s Berrick Barnes, New Zealand’s George Whitelock and Argentina’s Tomas Cubelli have been recruited to play.
Deans now coaches Panasonic in the Japanese Top League, where fly half Barnes and flanker Whitelock play this season.
“I count my trips back to Ireland and the UK as special times in my rugby coaching career and a couple of fixtures against the third and fourth ranked rugby nations in a World Cup year are an exciting prospect,” Deans said.
“The Barbarians are an iconic team with a special place in rugby’s history and it is a privilege to be invited to be their coach. Their performances against England and Australia last year were outstanding and that is the standard we have to uphold.”
The Barbarians’ 39-29 victory over England last season was followed by last November’s 40-36 defeat at the hands of Australia in one of the club’s best modern performances which included a classic length-of-the-field try finished by Marnitz Boshoff.
Berrick Barnes, 28, won 51 caps for the Wallabies - the majority of them under Deans - while Whitelock, also 28, was capped by the All Blacks in 2009 and captained the Crusaders’ side in Super 15. Both will represent the Barbarians for the first time. Argentina scrum half Cubelli, 25, is set to feature in this year’s Rugby World Cup and won the most recent of his 34 caps in the Pumas’ 18-13 win against France last November. He appeared for the Barbarians against both England and Australia last year.
The Barbarians are also due to face Heriot’s on April 21 to celebrate the Edinburgh club’s 125th anniversary. Coach and team announcements for that match will take place in due course.
Tickets for the Ireland v Barbarians match at Thomond Park are priced from €30 and family €50 (2 adult & 2 junior) terrace packs at www.ticketmaster.ie or 0818 719 300.