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Pivac: 'Beirne would be a great addition to Ireland squad for Australia tour'

The Scarlets forward is expected to be named in Joe Schmidt’s squad for the summer tour today.

Beirne has spent time in international camp at Carton House before.
Beirne has spent time in international camp at Carton House before.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SCARLETS HEAD COACH Wayne Pivac said Tadhg Beirne is fully deserving of a place in Ireland’s squad for the summer tour of Australia, adding that the hybrid flanker/second row wouldn’t let Joe Schmidt down if selected.

Beirne is expected to receive a first international call-up when Schmidt names his touring party for Down Under at some stage on Wednesday, having previously spent time in camp at Carton House.

The 26-year-old, who will next season join Munster, has been one of the Guinness Pro14′s outstanding performers again this term and will hope to help Scarlets to back-to-back titles against Leinster this Saturday.

His tenacious ability at the breakdown is well-known, with the former Leinster man again topping the charts for most breakdowns, but to focus solely on that attribute would do the rest of his great a great injustice.

Beirne brings huge physicality and energy to proceedings while also carrying powerfully and adding real intelligence at the lineout, all of which has seen him play a key role for Pivac’s Scarlets over the last two years.

The former Clongwoes Wood man spoke last week about how getting selected for Ireland is always in the back of his mind and now that he is leaving Wales to return home, the three-Test series against the Wallabies is set to give Beirne the chance to earn international recognition.

“I personally think he would be a great addition to the Ireland squad,” Pivac said ahead of the weekend’s Pro14 final in Dublin [KO 6pm].

“He can certainly cover two of three positions. I think on form alone, he deserves an opportunity.”

Nominated for the EPCR Player of the Year award, Beirne’s stock has risen immeasurably since he was released by Leinster in 2016 — and his promotion to Schmidt’s squad would be timed nicely with the World Cup looming large on the horizon.

Tadhg Beirne celebrates after the game Beirne has been momentumal again for Scarlets this year. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“I hope Joe does take him down there because I don’t think he will let Ireland down,” Pivac continued. “I think he will play with a lot of pride and a lot of passion. He will do a good job.”

Beirne will be looking to impress further against his former employers at the Aviva Stadium as Scarlets look to exact revenge for their heavy Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Leinster at the same venue — but the defending champions will be without their captain John Barclay.

The Scottish back row ruptured his Achilles tendon during the semi-final win over Glasgow Warriors last week and underwent surgery to repair the damage on Monday, with Pivac adding his loss is a setback.

“He’s been fantastic for us over a number of years,” the Kiwi said. “He’s a great leader. He led the side in the semi-final and final last year in the absence of Ken Owens, and did a great job.

“He’s a well-respected member of the group and he adds a lot — not just in his own ability at the breakdown and the work that he does in defence and the communication that he brings on the field, but he is also very good with the referee.

“That goes a long way in the big games, so look, he will be missed. Obviously it is a bit of a reshuffle.

“We had to do that earlier in the semi-final so probably the bonus is that it happened early in the game, so the team that continued on had a bit of game-time together.”

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