Irish united in defeat

Click to follow
Ireland 38

Barbarians 70

Maybe it did not matter on such a day, but Ireland were given a 10-try runaround by the Barbarians in yesterday's Peace Match. Indeed if anything, it could have been a lot worse.

OK, it definitely did not matter. The godfathers of terrorism will doubtless take not a blind bit of notice but there was raw and deeply affecting emotion in the response to the occasion of more than 30,000 people.

Even Ireland's President, Mary Robinson, had to stump up pounds 20 for her ticket - proceeds to cross-border charities - and the minute's silence for all victims of the troubles as well as Lansdowne Road's greeting for the group of children touched by Ulster's violence movingly expressed the people's will: ceasefire now.

Meanwhile, there was a game to be played. The Barbarians made the first decisive incision after seven minutes, though only after the Irish had had all the early possession and therefore all the early play. In fact, Ireland looked prospective scorers when Rob Henderson was thrusting up the middle towards the Baa-Baas' posts but his pass aimed at Denis McBride did not go to hand and the chance was lost. This was immediately turned to account by the Barbarians. Laurent Cabannes came away with the loose ball and sent Eric Rush on a meandering run which ended in the New Zealander putting Rory Underwood into space clear of the covering James Topping.

Bad swiftly became worse for Ireland when the Barbarians again came purposefully out of defence, this time led by Jonathan Callard and after the ball passed between Olivier Brouzet, Richard Cockerill and Graham Rowntree, Nigel Redman was unimpeded as he sauntered away for the second try.

Thus was the pattern set. Johann Roux was running into a blind alley until missed tackles and a generous parting of the Irish defences freed him for the next Barbarian try and Phil de Glanville slipped easily past Jeremy Davidson, as you might expect of a centre up against a lock, for the fourth try in 18 minutes.

The Irish did not quite make it a competitive game but at this point they enjoyed a mini-revival with tries by Henderson and Victor Costello. Later there was a second try for Costello and one each by Richard Wallace, Paul Burke and Topping with Simon Mason converting four from six.

In strictly rugby terms - as if it mattered - these were merely interludes. Philippe Sella added the fifth Barbarian try before half-time and thereafter there were two processions, one of replacement players on both sides and the other of Barbarians' try-scorers: Rush, Cockerill, Underwood, Will Greenwood and Lee Jarvis. Callard received 10 out of 10 for conversions.

Ireland: S Mason (Orrell); J Topping (Ballymena), R Henderson (London Irish), J Bell (Northampton), R Wallace (Garryowen); D Humphreys (London Irish), N Hogan (Terenure College, capt); H Hurley (Old Wesley), A Clarke (Northampton), A McKeen (Lansdowne), G Fulcher (London Irish), J Davidson (Dungannon), E Halvey (Saracens), V Costello (St Mary's College), D McBride (Malone). Replacements: P Johns (Dungannon) for Halvey, 3; M Field (Malone) for Bell, 37; P Flavin (Blackrock College) for Hurley, 38; P Burke (Constitution) for Humphreys, 44; C Saverimutto (Sale) for Hogan, 47; Hogan for Henderson, 66.

Barbarians: J Callard (Bath); R Underwood (Leicester), P Sella (Agen), P de Glanville (Bath, capt), E Rush (North Harbour); S Bachop (Otago), J Roux (Transvaal); G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth (all Leicester), N Redman (Bath), O Brouzet (Grenoble), S Ojomoh (Bath), D Richards (Leicester), L Cabannes (Racing). Replacements: W Greenwood (Harlequins) for de Glanville, 24; M Brewer (Canterbury) for Richards, 49; L Jarvis (Cardiff) for Rush, 56.

Referee: D Bevan (Wales).