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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 2 December 2020

Cardiff cauldron is Beirne's opportunity to force his way into World Cup plans

Tadhg Beirne needs to seize his Six Nations debut, Bernard Jackman says.

Beirne: Six Nations debut on Saturday.
Beirne: Six Nations debut on Saturday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SATURDAY’S GRAND SLAM decider in Cardiff is a prime opportunity for Tadhg Beirne to stake his claim for a place in Ireland’s Rugby World Cup squad.

Iain Henderson’s injury sees Beirne come in to make his Guinness Six Nations debut as one of three changes in Joe Schmidt’s starting XV to face Wales.

And Bernard Jackman believes that the Munster lock needs a big performance to elevate himself above his second-row rivals for a place on the plane to Japan.

“I was hoping maybe he’d play last week,” Jackman said on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

“I just thought he may have given us a bit of a spark. He’s incredibly confident in his own ability. He has big moments in games so I’m delighted to see him get an opportunity, ironically in the Principality where obviously he re-started his career, in Wales.

“A huge opportunity for him. The reality is he probably needs to have a big game to try and force his way not just into the starting team for Ireland, but on the plane to Japan.”

Schmidt’s other changes see Sean O’Brien return to the back row after he was dropped for the victory over France, while Rob Kearney — who was a late withdrawal last weekend — resumes at fullback.

“You’re bringing in players who are big-game players,” Jackman added.

“I know Tadhg Beirne hasn’t done it at international level to the same extent as someone like Sean O’Brien, but I have no doubt that he can come into this game, the cauldron that will be Principality Stadium, and be really influential. I think it’s exciting.

Ireland will have played 36 players over the Six Nations which is brilliant going into a World Cup, and if we can finish this Saturday with another win and finish second in the comp, given the way we started, having blooded so many players and come through a bit of a rough patch, I think that’s massive for us. That’s probably as good as winning the tournament.

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey on The42 Rugby Weekly as Ireland bid to spoil Wales’ Grand Slam party in Cardiff, and the U20s target their own piece of history.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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