CONTEPOMI kicks Baa-Baas to win over Ireland

Des Berry

It was just like old times last night as Ronan O'Gara and Felipe Contepomi went at it hammer and tongs until the Argentinian's 78th-minute penalty squeezed the Barbarians to a 29-28 victory over Ireland in an uncapped international at Kingsholm.

While Ireland came out on the wrong side of the scoreline, there was plenty to enthuse coach Declan Kidney as all four tries arrived from the back three, full-back Keith Earls and left wing Simon Zebo also piercing the Baa-Baas.

In contrast, the shadow Ireland side leaked four tries themselves, three in the first-half to Iain Balshaw, Cornelius van Zyl and Paul Sackey to trail 19-14 at the break.

Munster's Zebo took full advantage of a driving maul and effective use of hands to send Ireland to the lead 21-19 in the 44th-minute, courtesy of O'Gara's conversion.

The game ebbed and flowed. The Black and Whites made a triple substitution in the 56th minute, including the introduction of Leinster's Isa Nacewa for Balshaw.

It triggered an ominous attack born out of a solid lineout and concluded by former England captain Mike Tindall careering over near the corner flag. Unsurprisingly, Contepomi sealed the seven points with a conversion.

Ireland sought an impact from their own bench by sending in a three-man cavalry and one of them, Connacht's Ronan Loughney, went close to a try in the build up to Gilroy's second, converted by O'Gara, in the 65th minute.

It was going right to the wire. Gilroy was called back for a forward pass just as Ireland appeared to break away and Andrew Trimble lost a ball he initially intercepted. They were kept hemmed in long enough for Contepomi to have his way.

And so it came to pass that the Barbarians' captain Mick O'Driscoll put one over his former team-mate O'Gara and his ex-coach Kidney. What a way to walk off the stage and into retirement.