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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 20 November, 2018

Van Graan braced for impact of 'unbelievable' Tadhg Beirne

The future Munster forward will be the main threat to the hosts in Thomond Park tomorrow.

Image: Byran Keane/INPHO

MUNSTER COACH JOHANN van Graan says incoming star Tadhg Beirne is an ‘unbelievable rugby player’ as he prepares to wreak havoc for Scarlets against his future employers in Limerick this weekend.

Kildare native Beirne will make the switch and join Munster at the end of the current campaign after two successful seasons in west Wales, where he picked up a Pro12 winners medal last year.

The 26-year-old tops the charts with 36 turnovers in the league this season, 15 better off that his closest rival Michael Willemse.

Beirne is also a nominee for the EPCR European Player of the Year and Van Graan knows his side will have a tough time shutting him down when they host Scarlets at Thomond Park tomorrow (kick-0ff 17.30, Sky Sports).

“Every time I’ve seen the Scarlets play I’ve seen him play and it’s great that he is coming to Munster,” said van Graan.

“Look, I’ve never met him but he seems a fantastic guy and an unbelievable rugby player at this stage.

He’s almost getting man of the match every single time he plays and it’s not only his breakdown steals it his all-round abilities, and I’m very glad we’re getting him.

“The beautiful thing about him is he can play (number) four, he can play six, he’s played eight before, so he can cover quite a few positions. But at this stage he’s opposition and he’s playing very well for the Scarlets and giving them a lot of energy.”

Munster are second in Conference A in the Pro14 ahead of the repeat of last year’s final where Scarlets won 46-22 at Aviva Stadium.

Johann van Graan Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Van Graan will be without his international contingent after Ireland’s heroics in the Six Nations, but looks forward to having them back for a huge Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulon at Thomond Park on 31 March.

“They have won an amazing Six Nations competition. You have to look at the last weekend and see where all teams in the competition played very well and obviously it was very physical and maybe mentally demanding,” said van Graan.

“They have all got an ‘off-week’ so they wouldn’t have been playing this weekend and I guess it’s the same for Munster and for Leinster.

“We’ve got some pretty big dreams for this club. And we’re in a home quarter final against Toulon so I’m sure they will be back refreshed next Monday and will focus on Munster.”

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Daragh Small

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