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'A lot of Limerick people might show up hoping the Baa-Baas do well...'

Eoin Reddan found a novel marketing solution for a Munster-less Ireland fixture in Thomond.

SITTING WITH THE ideal view of the Aviva Stadium pitch from the plush President’s box on halfway, it didn’t take long for Les Kiss to tick a box for his paymasters.

Les Kiss Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Australian is too genuine of a man to beat around the bush for more than a minute.

Tickets! Anyone for the last of the Ireland v Barbarians tickets?

“14,000 tickets sold, we’d like to get that up, because it’s a cauldron that’s brilliant to perform in if the crowd does build up.”

11,000 short of a capacity crowd and sales will not be helped by the absence of locally based players with Munster preparing for the Pro12 final. Even the nearest and dearest neighbours from Connacht were left out after their exhausting play-off in Gloucester.

Eoin Reddan Reddan, before he was a Wasp. Source: ©INPHO

Fortunately, there is one local still on the scene. Even though it’s a decade since he wore the red jersey, Eoin Reddan knows his people.

“I’m sure a lot of Limerick people might show up and hope the BaaBaas do well,” he jokes with an eyebrow firmly raised.

“Might get a few more thousand tickets sold because it’s Leinster and Ulster playing against the BaaBaas.”

That said, there will be enough familiar foes in black and white jerseys to discourage any temptations to divide loyalties. Shane Jennings is blue to the core while Brad Thorn, Jimmy Gopperth and Zane Kirchner hold loyalties north east of Munster too.

Reddan expects no favours from his one-time team-mates:

“Not particularly no,” he says in his deadpan tone when asked whether he’s looking forward to meeting Jennings on the field.

“I’ve played against Shane once or twice and didn’t enjoy either of them. So I’d prefer if Shane was saved for a different game a few days later.

“Brad Thorn is excellent as well. If Brad’s playing, it means no matter how many guys want to be carrying or off-loading, he’ll still be running around hitting rucks. He’s absolutely exceptional at that, he makes teams tick, he’s a very handy guy for a team like the BaaBaas to have.”

Eoin Reddan Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

What will actually help shift more tickets is Ireland promising to play like champions. After choosing function over fashion for November and four games of the Six Nations, Joe Schmidt’s side cut loose when tries were needed against Scotland on the final day.

While the personnel will be different and it will be difficult to make a freshly gathered team gel instantly, coaches and players will be out to meet the Barbarians ethos with their own brand of attacking rugby.

“With the squad that’s been picked it’s quite exciting. We’ve got some very good attack-minded players in the squad. That said, we have certain principles we stick to. It is possible to play very good rugby with those principles [which are] mainly around the breakdown.

“You want to enjoy it, but you’ve got to be ready to play and ready for a physical encounter anyway.”

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Sean Farrell

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