Wednesday 18 September 2019

'You can throw me in at 15 if you want' - Tadhg Beirne determined to show Joe Schmidt his World Cup value

Tadhg Beirne during Ireland Rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Kildare. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Tadhg Beirne during Ireland Rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Kildare. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Des Berry

Tadhg Beirne is typical of those right on the cut-off point for Ireland’s 31-man squad.

He must be feeling positive, following up two appearances from the bench with another from the start against Wales on Saturday.

The versatility is there to fill-in at lock, blindside and number eight as Joe Schmidt contemplates making adjustments from the form his players show.

"I have to be ready for any position," said Beirne.

"I was on the bench for the back-row last week and I was put into lock because I’ve been asked to cover those positions.

"It’s just about being prepared and knowing my role in all of those positions, just being comfortable in it.

"I’m more than happy to play in any of them. As long as I’m on the field or in the 23, I’ll put my hand up.

"You can throw me in at 15, if you want," he said tongue-in-cheek.

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Little wonder as Beirne sat beside Will Addison, Ireland's latest full-back, just after the team announcement.

The Ulsterman will earn his fourth cap after coming through a cloud of injury that looked like derailing his plans to make it to Japan.

"You have your dark days where you think you’re not going to quite make it," said Addison.

"I've got a great supporting network in my family and friends, and in the club.

"Once I got on the right track for my injury, I felt like I could get back in the frame."

Late to pre-season, Addison will call on his experience playing out-half for his former club Sale to push his own claims as an option at full-back, wing centre and even fly-half.

It looks like that ability to play more than one role can be Beirne and Addison’s ticket to the World Cup.

First, they will have to show Schmidt how valuable they can be in Cardiff.

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