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Dublin: 20 °C Friday 23 August, 2019

Barbarians spoil the party as Ruan Pienaar waves goodbye to Ulster with defeat

The province bid farewell to the South African scrum-half tonight ahead of his move to France.

Ruan Pienaar.
Ruan Pienaar.
Image: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Ulster 28 Barbarians 43

ULSTER SCRUM-HALF RUAN Pienaar was given a standing ovation as he ended his career with a 15-point defeat to the Barbarians at Kingspan Stadium tonight.

The South African veteran left the field just shy of half-time in what was his final appearance for the province before he moves to Montpellier this summer, after the IRFU refused to extend his contract into an eighth season owing to their succession policy.

Pienaar’s last competitive game for the province was a Guinness Pro12 clash against Leinster last month but tonight’s fixture allowed him to say a final goodbye to the adoring Ulster faithful.

Former Leinster and Ireland hooker Mike Ross, Ulster back-rower Roger Wilson and France and Toulouse legend Thierry Dusatoir also played tonight ahead of their respective retirements.

The match itself was a typically entertaining affair, the Barbarians leading 22-21 at the interval and storming home in the second period as the goodbyes took centre stage.

Stuart McCloskey gave Ulster a lead on seven minutes, with Wilson adding the extras. McCloskey then turned provider only four minutes later, creating an opportunity for Mark Keane to dot down.

Pienaar extended Ulster’s lead to 14 points before Kiwi hooker Corey Flynn got the Barbarians off the mark and then a converted Waisea Nayacalevu effort got the visitors back to within two points (14-12).

Prop Chris King scored a brace of tries for the visitors either side of a five-pointer for Ulster debutant Callum Patterson — which Pienaar converted before being replaced by Paul Marshall — to leave the minimum between the sides at the break.

Alan O’Connor powered his way over early in the second spell to put Ulster on the front foot again, and Brett Herron’s extras put Les Kiss’s side six points ahead, 28-22. But that was to be the home side’s last score of the game.

On a night of many farewells, Ross was the next to court a standing ovation on 46 minutes, signing off on a very successful professional career.

Ten minutes later Wilson brought the crowd to their feet as the ceremonial nature of the occasion began to take hold and the scoring rate slowed down.

The Baa Baas then began to click; first a penalty try and then a second from Nayacalevu — both converted by Dubliner Ian Madigan — put the visitors ahead by eight points (36-28) with 20 minutes to go.

Joe Tekori then wrapped up the scoring on 78 minutes, with Dusatoir claiming the man of the match honours.

Ulster: Peter Nelson; Mark Keane, Callum Patterson, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy; Brett Herron, Ruan Pienaar (joint-captain); Andy Warwick, Rob Herring, Rodney Ah You; Alan O’Connor, Peter Browne; Matthew Rea, Clive Ross, Roger Wilson (joint-captain). Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Ross Kane, Stephen Mulholland, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Dave Shanahan, Callum Smith, Ricky Lutton.

Barbarians: Alex Goode (Saracens & England); David Smith (Castres), Waisea Nayacalevu (Stade Francais & Fiji), Robbie Fruean (Bath Rugby), Horacio Agulla (Castres & Argentina); Ian Madigan (Bordeaux Begles & Ireland), Rory Kockott (Castres & France); Chris King (Pau), Corey Flynn (Star RFC & New Zealand), Mike Ross (Leinster & Ireland); Paul Willemse (Montpellier), Patricio Albacete (Toulouse & Argentina); Joe Tekori (Toulouse & Samoa), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse & France, captain), Facundo Isa (Lyon & Argentina). Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Gloucester & Wales), Vincent Pelo (La Rochelle & France), Census Johnston (Toulouse & Samoa), Jeremy Thrush (Gloucester & New Zealand), Chris Masoe (Racing Metro & New Zealand), Kahn Fotuali’i (Bath Rugby & Samoa), Brock James (La Rochelle), Jean-Marcellin Buttin (Bordeaux-Begles & France).

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