Thursday 17 October 2019

'I'd probably be selling you a house' - Munster star Tadhg Beirne on how close he came to walking away from rugby

9 December 2018; Tadhg Beirne of Munster during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 2 Round 3 match between Munster and Castres at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Tadhg Beirne of Munster during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 2 Round 3 match between Munster and Castres at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Tadhg Beirne has already become a fan favourite at Munster after joining from the Scarlets last summer, but the second row came very close earlier in his career to abandoning his dream of making it as a professional rugby player.

Beirne, who made his Ireland debut against Australia last July, had a frustrating three years in the Leinster academy, with injuries never allowing him to show his full potential.

Leinster opted against keeping him, with the second row deciding to sign with the Scarlets after chatting to head coach Wayne Pivac.

Beirne enjoyed a sensational two years in Wales, winning the PRO 12 title in his first season before picking up a nomination for European Player of the Year last season.

However, despite these successes earning him a deal with Munster and leading to his international debut, Beirne admits that after his Leinster career came to a close, he considering stepping away from rugby.

Speaking on the Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, Beirne admitted that he was close to finishing off his studies and getting a job before deciding to take the plunge with the Scarlets.

"I'd probably be selling one of you guys a house," Beirne said.

"I have half a masters done so I probably would have finished that off and went into property.

"At the stage of me signing [for the Scarlets] I was thinking that I was going over almost as a squad player. I was thinking that if play well enough I could sneak in and get a few bench appearances in my first year and go from there."

Beirne admits that his sharp rise in professional rugby has surprised even him, with the 26-year-old now one of the in-form players in Ireland.

"I was on the bench for the first three games with the Scarlets and then I got dropped and I thought that was it for me, but after my next opportunity, I more or less started every game after that," Beirne said.

"It was a bit surreal to think that a few years on, I'm wearing green for Ireland."

Beirne has enjoyed many great days over the last few seasons, but singles out the Scarlets' final pool game last season as the match where he finally felt that he belonged at an elite level.

"The Toulon game at home last season," Beirne said.

"I came off the pitch and felt I had played well and it gave me a burst of confidence going on from there. It just gave me confidence in my ability and you are not second-guessing yourself going into games like you were at the start. Then you are thinking about everything twice before you do anything in case it is in the wrong thing but once you find your feet, you have the confidence to play the way you should be playing."

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