Beirne hitting World Cup form after frustrating early yellow card

The Munster man has featured in all three of Ireland’s games so far.

HE HAS TO be diplomatic about it but you can be sure that Tadhg Beirne is still frustrated by the yellow card he received in Ireland’s opening World Cup game against Scotland.

Having only been off the bench for a matter of 13 minutes, the sin-binning meant Beirne had to watch the rest of Ireland’s win from the sideline, presumably fuming that he couldn’t influence the closing stages.

“Not for me to decide,” says Beirne when asked if the yellow card dished out by Wayne Barnes was unfair.

“It was close to the line. It’s still a yellow at the end of the day.”


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Review of the incident suggests that Beirne did win the race of the ball here, beating the arriving Scotland scrum-half Ali Price to the punch and getting his feet in behind Ireland’s side of the tackle. 

His entry point is perhaps from the side, while there is a slight separation between his left hand and the ball for a split second, but Beirne ends up in the kind of position that regularly sees jackals like himself rewarded.

On this occasion, Barnes says that it was a “clear ruck” and Beirne had no right to look for the turnover. With Scotland having just broken the Irish defence, the yellow card is dished out.

Beirne has more than moved on, of course, having played twice for Ireland since that short stint against Scotland and he says the yellow card won’t deter him from going after the ball at the breakdown.

“I was probably silly when I looked back on it. I probably could have taken my hands… I personally thought I was on the ball straight away but my right hand wasn’t on it and I was in there for quite a while.

“I probably have to be a bit smarter myself. If I hadn’t gotten it at that first stage, it probably would have been cleverer to let it go.

“But it definitely won’t stop me going after ball if the opportunity arises. I say I regret it but I still have to go after those balls. This one went against me but I just need to be a bit more clever.”

Beirne is a jackal, pure and simple. He craves turnovers and much of his game is spent hungrily seeking the kind of breakdown opportunity that allows him to show his speed of movement, balance, ball focus, and pure fight to stay in the battle even when the heavy clearout attempts arrive.

tadhg-beirne Beirne is keen to play again on Saturday against Samoa. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

He has played in all three of Ireland’s World Cup games so far, a real achievement given that there were concerns he might not even make Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad. While he feels it hasn’t been perfect yet, the Munster man is getting into his best form.

“I came on in the second game [against Japan] and got stung for another penalty there but I thought I did bring a bit of energy and then I thought I did reasonably well against Russia,” says Beirne.

“I’ve been slowly hitting my form a bit and hopefully I can step it up again this week if I’m called upon.”

Beirne had an impressive maul turnover against Japan and a further two steals of Russian possession, as well being among the better Irish ball-carriers in the latter fixture, leaving him in good shape if selected against Samoa on Saturday.

Still just 11 caps into his Test career, the very best is yet to come from the Eadestown man.

“Getting game time at any stage is very helpful,” says Beirne.

“The more game time, the more comfortable I’ll feel, especially for confidence and for fitness as well.” 

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