Ireland will face a different kind of pressure when they take on the Barbarians at Thomond Park next month, says Donncha O’Callaghan.
The Munster lock played against the famous invitation side when Ireland were beaten 29-23 at Thomond Park five years ago – then helped the Barbarians beat a young England team 39-29 last summer.
Five years ago it felt like a home game for the BaaBaas. Quinny [Alan Quinlan] was playing against Ireland and the Munster supporters really bought into it. They wanted to see the Irish boys tested. We lost and there was a big cheer – it was confusing!
For the Munster crowd it’s going to be great. They appreciate the traditions and values the Barbarians stand for especially being the Club’s 125th Anniversary year. They know Ireland have to be ready for the World Cup and the crowd will want to see the Barbarians play well and see how Ireland handle the pressure.”
O’Callaghan won 94 Ireland caps between 2003 and 2011, taking part in three World Cup campaigns, but his call-up by the Barbarians was a special occasion.
“It makes you remember why you play and it made me love it even more. On the first day you’re thinking ‘how is this going to work?’ Then four days later it all comes together. It takes you back to why we do this in the first place.
For Ireland this is an opportunity to be tested against an opposition you can’t do any homework on,” said O’Callaghan.
So don’t miss out on an evening of great rugby, get your tickets now.