Saturday 26 May 2018

Tadhg Beirne hails the impact of James Ryan as Scarlets remain magnanimous in defeat

Scarlets' Irish lock Tadhg Beirne (C) scores a consolation try during the European Champions Cup rugby union semi-final between Leinster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium
Scarlets' Irish lock Tadhg Beirne (C) scores a consolation try during the European Champions Cup rugby union semi-final between Leinster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium
David Kelly

David Kelly

Munster-bound Tadhg Beirne hailed his one-time club team-mate James Ryan after the Leinster man continued his remarkable unbeaten run in professional rugby with his 20th win from 20 games with club and country.

“I played with him at Lansdowne a couple of times,” said Beirne. “He has been scouted since he was around 15 and everyone knows he has been a prodigy in this country.

“He's an exceptional player and he has shown that in the last year with Ireland and Leinster. And he proved it again today.”

Beirne will join Munster next season but asked would he be like to see his new employers reach the final against Racing 92, he displayed little interest.

“To be honest, I don't really care. I'm just playing for Scarlets now and I've another few weeks left here. We're out of Europe now.”

Scarlets' coach Wayne Pivac conceded that Leinster deserved to claim a Champions Cup final slot after their comprehensive 38-16 success at the Aviva Stadium.

However, he did point to a knock-on that was missed by the officials before half-time.

“It didn't help with the knock-on before half-time which wasn't seen and then they score from the scrum. We would have been happy at 17-9 but that decision didn't have any effect on the result.

“Leinster were the better side on the day and deserved to go through to the final. It was a mixture of how well they played and how well we didn't play. We didn't play as we would have liked and that combination led to the result.

“They were very direct, they knew we would bring line-speed but they looked after the ball well in contact, they got good speed of the ball and it was a knock-on effect. Once they got into the 22 they were very clinical.

“We didn't think the injuries were an excuse, all teams have them. We freshened up a few of our players and we felt good this week.

“Leinster were just very good across the board and when you fall behind and try to catch up, that compounds things.”

Captain Rob Evans hailed Leinster's dramatic turnaround from last season's Pro12 semi-final defeat and compared them to Joe Schmidt's Ireland.

"They're the best side at executing a game-plan. Johnny Sexton spoke about learning the lessons from last year and they executed the game and dominated.

"They were more direct, a bit like Ireland and, although we held them out the back, they got quick ball which stopped our line speed and then they had ball carrier plus two, that put our jackallers out of the game.

“Their kicking game was quite good, they won the aerial battle and that helped them to win the territory.”

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