Sport Leinster Rugby

Monday 18 December 2017

Baa-Baas send-off for Jennings as Macken leaves

Shane Jennings was never one to go with the flow during his storied career, so signing off at Thomond Park while playing against Ireland might just appeal to the retiring Leinster hero (Sportsfile)
Shane Jennings was never one to go with the flow during his storied career, so signing off at Thomond Park while playing against Ireland might just appeal to the retiring Leinster hero (Sportsfile)
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Shane Jennings was never one to go with the flow during his storied career, so signing off at Thomond Park while playing against Ireland might just appeal to the retiring Leinster hero.

The openside flanker didn't get to say goodbye on the RDS pitch as a player as he missed out on selection during the Blues' run-in; instead he will play his final match for the Barbarians on Thursday as they face Joe Schmidt's Six Nations champions - a team likely to be packed with his old team-mates from Leinster.

It will give the flanker a chance to size up the favourite to succeed Matt O'Connor, Robbie Deans, after the Australian's surprise departure on Thursday, but he's mostly looking forward to donning the famous black and white shirt for the first time.

"It's a shame it didn't end as I would have liked with Leinster but every cloud has a silver lining and I can't wait to get going and to wear the jersey," he said.

Funny

"I grew up watching 101 Great Tries on video and Gareth Edwards scoring for the Barbarians so it's been something I've been aware of ever since then. I did get called up a couple of years ago but couldn't do it. It's funny that I'm finally going to be able to do it against Ireland."

Jennings will be joined by team-mates Jimmy Gopperth and Zane Kirchner in the black and white on Thursday and the Wasps-bound out-half will have a familiar face alongside him next season as Brendan Macken's move to the Coventry club was announced yesterday.

The outside centre has spent much of this season at Premiership side Gloucester after being frozen out by O'Connor and now makes the leap on a permanent basis. They will be joined there by another Irish centre in James Downey who has been on loan from Glasgow and will play at the Ricoh Arena next year.

Another Barbarian, Australia's George Smith, could also join Wasps next year as he prepares to leave relegated Lyon.

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