Friday, December 11, 2009

Ireland's Magners League stars beaten almost all comers in 2009 but they will soon be tasting a new international challenge in 2010.

The reigning Grand Slam Champions will face the Barbarians at Munster's Thomond Park on the evening of Friday, June 4 in what will be the first encounter between the two sides in more than a decade.

An Ireland squad that saw just one non-Magners League player earn game time during the current calendar year will finish 2009 as the world's fourth-ranked side following victories over Wales and France.

Next on the agenda is the forthcoming Six Nations rugby after which a mouth-watering clash with the Barbarians has been confirmed as part of the preparations for the summer tour of the southern hemisphere.

This promises to be a truly memorable occasion as both the IRFU and Munster welcome the Barbarians once more to Ireland," said Irish Rugby Football Union president John Callaghan.

The much celebrated Barbarians' brand of rugby will surely bring an entertaining game to Thomond Park and one which I am sure Ireland rugby fans will looking forward to seeing."

Those sentiments were echoed by Thomond Park's stadium director John Cantwell, who admitted he is thrilled to continue to bring international rugby to the home of the Magners League Champions.

Off the back of an exhilarating and somewhat exhausting Autumn series, Rugby Unions international focus is now shifting firmly to next years RBS Six Nations. Off the back of their hard fought 15-10 win over the reigning world champions, Ireland will be more confident than ever of retaining their title and winning their third grand slam. RBS Six Nations Hospitality for all of the fixtures in this years hotly anticipated competition are currently on sale at corporatehospitalitygroup.

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This event will also deliver significant economic benefits to local businesses and provide a substantial level of positive media exposure that will help to promote the region as a tourist destination."

The fixture will be just the third time the two sides have met in Ireland, with the hosts yet to record a victory.

Ireland were comfortably beaten 70-38 in Dublin in 1996 before putting up a far braver fight in a 31-30 reverse in the same city four years later.

The Babaas themselves have appeared in Ireland on a total of seven occasions, winning six times and losing just once.

As well as the brace of victories over the Irish national side, the Babaas have beaten South Africa, Cork Constitution, Wanderers and an Ulster Invitation XV, with their only loss coming against Old Wesley in 1991.

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