5 Jun 2010

Ireland lose to Barbarians

9:13 am on 5 June 2010

The All Blacks' first opponents of the season, Ireland, have lost to the UK Barbarians 29-23 at Limerick in their international season opener.

On Friday Ireland lost yet another player to injury ahead of their tour of New Zealand and Australia.

The Munster centre Keith Earls will miss the trip due to a persistent groin injury.

Gavin Duffy of Connacht has been called-up as his replacement.

Earls is the fourth player to see his tour hopes ended by injury before the squad has even departed.

Paul O'Connell, Rory Best and Kevin McLaughlin have all already withdrawn, while Test regulars Stephen Ferris, Denis Leamy and Luke Fitzgerald did not make it into the original 33-man squad because of injury problems.

Ireland play the Barbarians in Limerick on Saturday before heading to New Zealand for next weekend's Test against the All Blacks in New Plymouth.