If only the ground had moved for Dubarry
ALL IN THE SCRUM:Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction – or perhaps more accurately in this case quirkier – in a story that relates to one of the Biarritz Olympique players who took on Connacht in Friday’s Heineken Cup match at the Sportsground in Galway.
The player in question is second row Thibault Dubarry and a sense of symmetry would have been even more acute if this match had taken place in Athlone, in the home of the Buccaneers, Dubarry Park (above). You can just picture Thibault looking at the giant sign naming the venue and thinking, “I’ve a ground named after me.”
I’m not sure if any of the Connacht players had time to relate this anecdote before the French team’s departure on Friday night.
More pertinently Thibault will be hoping that the shoe is on the other foot in terms of the result, this Friday when the teams meet again in Biarritz.
Back in the cage
Former Ireland underage international and A prop Peter Bracken is to take part in a Mixed Martial Art (MMA) cage fighting event in Galway under the banner Celtic Gladiator Amateur night in the Radisson Blu hotel in Galway on December 22nd.
According to the poster, he is fighting someone called Cameroon Dempsey (he might be called Cameron) and looking forward to a challenge for which he has been training hard by his own admission.
The 35-year-old Tullamore native played for Munster, Connacht, Wasps, Bristol, Harlequins, Newport Gwent Dragons and also spent some time in France. He twice toured with Ireland but was never capped. He has also worked as a scrum coach.
Barrett sampling atmosphere in Ireland
Beauden Barrett has been spending a week in Ireland catching up with friends in Galway and Oldcastle in Meath. The 21-year-old rugby sensation who made his All Black debut when coming on against Ireland in the third Test during the summer tour has gone on to win five caps. Although primarily an outhalf with the Hurricanes Super 15 (199 points in 20 appearances) side he has also won two of his five caps at No 15. Barrett tweeted: “good night out in oldcastle. Been a while.#2ndhome#old mates” while also adding a picture.
A former Under-20 World Cup winner he is likely to fight Aaron Cruden for the back-up spot to Dan Carter. And if that doesn’t work out then it looks like there’ll be a home for him in Ireland to play his rugby.
There was a time when England’s Varsity rugby match for the Bowring Bowl would regularly boast a smattering of Irish players in both the Cambridge and Oxford University line-ups. Recently this column alighted on Cambridge’s Belfast-born second row Scott Annett.
The PhD student is the founder of Gadabout Press, an online arts website that publishes a quarterly journal in creative writing and song writing and that boasts members around the world. Annett’s not your usual rugby player, based on his short biography that explains his PhD in English.
“His [Annett’s] research focuses primarily on Samuel Beckett’s pre-war writing and the importance of comedy, and in particular an understanding of Dantean comedy, to the development of Beckett’s work. His MPhil was in European Literature and Culture and his dissertation focused on smiles in the Commedia and their disintegration in Watt, Beckett’s final novel to be written in English.”