Ireland's Caplice and Murphy score as BaaBaas roll out 'The Wall' against Wales

Paula Fitzpatrick and Sene Naoupu also featured for the invitational side.

IRELAND’S JENNY MURPHY, Anna Caplice, Paula Fitzpatrick, and Sene Naoupu were all involved as Barbarians Women beat Wales 29-15 on Saturday in Cardiff.

Murphy was named player of the match after an excellent display in midfield that included a try, while openside flanker Caplice also dotted down in an impressive showing.

wales-women-v-barbarians-women-international-principality-stadium Murphy was player of the match for the Barbarians. Source: David Davies

Fitzpatrick, who retired from Ireland duty last year, was superb at blindside flanker for the Barbarians, while Naoupu featured off the bench for the invitational side.

Murphy hasn’t played for Ireland since stepping back from Test rugby in the wake of the 2017 World Cup but showed her class last weekend with an impactful performance that included a finish from close-range.

Caplice got on the scoresheet just before half-time as the Barbarians rolled out a truly classic play in the shape of The Wall.

As we can see below, the BaaBaas have four players, including Fitzpatrick, alongside each other, forming a ‘wall’ with their backs turned to the opposition.

Wall Source: S4C

Scrum-half Brianna Miller taps the penalty and passes to lock Eloise Blackwell…

Pass Source: S4C

Blackwell receives the pass and turns towards the players alongside her, with the ball instantly disguised from the advancing Wales defence.

Scrum-half Miller continues her run as if to accept a return pass in behind [white below], as Blackwell and her companions in the wall mimic passing the ball along the line.

Dummy Source: S4C

Meanwhile, loosehead prop Steph Te Ohaere-Fox has started to make a run to the other side of the wall [red above] as if to accept a pass where Miller started the move.

Clearly, it’s very difficult for Wales to predict where the ball is going to end up here as it’s still hidden from view.

The wall breaks up as Fitzpatrick and number eight Charmaine McMenamin [yellow below] split to the left in a bid to draw off Wales defenders, but Blackwell still has the ball as she breaks to the right [blue below] along with Rebecca Clough.

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Break Source: S4C

The subterfuge by the BaaBaas means Blackwell has an initial one-on-one against Wales scrum-half Keira Bevan, a physical mismatch, but the halfback does well to duck low into the tackle and cling onto an ankle to slow her as two team-mates join into the tackle.

Tackle Source: S4C

The Wall doesn’t produce the first-phase try for the Barbarians but Blackwell is stopped only two metres short and Caplice produces a smart finish on the next phase.

As Caplice receives the pass from Miller, she can see that Wales have set up tight to the ruck on her inside, with space beckoning in front.

Sapce Source: S4C

Caplice has support outside but backs herself to finish, using a dummy pass to prompt Wales number eight Siwan Lillicrap to sit off…

Caplice Source: S4C

… buying Caplice enough time and space to burst between flanker Robyn Lock and Lillicrap to finish the try.


In what was a very fun Barbarians performance under head coach Rachel Taylor – the former Wales captain – we also saw something rather bizarre and unique later in the game.

Awarded a free-kick for a Welsh scrum offence, the BaaBaas used a lineout jump in the middle of the pitch. Caplice was the target from scrum-half Miller’s pass, with Fitzpatrick part of the pod as a lifter.


[Click here if you cannot view the clip above]

The Barbarians didn’t really create anything with this in-field lineout jump but they get top marks for originality.

To their credit, Wales did produce a clever lineout play of their own to score through scrum-half Bevan but the Barbarians had too much quality, with former Wales wing Dyddgu Hywel scoring a sublime try that was sparked by Caplice and Fitzpatrick offloads.

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Murray Kinsella

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