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Beirne puts hand up as Ireland look to reinforcements for France clash

James Ryan, Cian Healy and captain Rory Best will all be back in the mix.

TADHG BEIRNE IS firmly in the frame to feature for Ireland in their Six Nations clash with France in Dublin in two weekends’ time after making an impressive return from injury for Munster last weekend.

The 27-year-old was a late inclusion in Munster’s team to face the Ospreys on Friday night and went on to be named man of the match after a superb individual performance.

Beirne made his Ireland debut on last summer’s tour of Australia and had two starts in the November Test wins over Italy and the US, but has yet to be involved in the Six Nations after a knee injury ruled him out of the two opening rounds.

Tadhg Beirne goes over for the third try Beirne is hoping for a Six Nations debut. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Having proven his sharpness last weekend for Munster, Beirne is now back in contention to feature for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland.

“I saw bits of the game,” said Schmidt on Sunday night after Ireland’s 26-16 win over Italy in Rome. “He did really well and Tadhg is the sort of guy who because of his volume of minutes, it’s not the worst thing for him to have a bit of a break.

“But for him to hit the ground running was super. I briefly exchanged texts with [Munster boss] Johann van Graan this morning and we discussed Tadhg briefly.

“There are a few other guys who went back last week as well and did really well. That is what we are looking for. Those who stayed in camp, they have to be really good as well.”

Schmidt is expecting to welcome Robbie Henshaw back into the selection frame for the France game, saying the Leinster man “could probably have played” against Italy but was given additional time to recover from a leg injury.

Schmidt said Joey Carbery [hamstring], CJ Stander [cheek], and Garry Ringrose [hamstring] could “potentially” be involved against les Bleus, although news that Dan leavy remains on the comeback trail at Leinster is a blow for Ireland, who have missed the abrasive openside flanker in this Six Nations.

Captain Rory Best, loosehead prop Cian Healy and second row James Ryan – all rested for the win over Italy – will be back in the mix and Schmidt is looking forward to having a few selection decisions as Ireland look to find their best form.

Ireland’s James Ryan Ireland will welcome James Ryan back for the France game. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

“You are starting to put a few good players in there,” said the Ireland boss. “The ones who are not 100% ready for France may come in for the Welsh week. A lot of that is dependent on how they are.”

Schmidt handed Dave Kilcoyne, Sean Cronin, Ultan Dillane and Jordi Murphy chances in the starting Ireland team last weekend at Stadio Olimpico and indicated that their performances had been mixed.

“There were some players given an opportunity and some of them took it in parts and not in other parts,” he said.

Asked if there will be similar opportunities for squad players in the closing two games of the championship against France and Wales, Schmidt said: 

“We will just keep balancing it and keep trying to have a look at combinations. We don’t get a lot of time with the players so we want to maximise this time to give a bit of opportunity to players and learn a bit about them.

“It was good to give a bit of an opportunity to a few players today. We will keep cataloguing that and that will help us build towards some decisions down the line.”

- Originally published at 06.30

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Murray Kinsella

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