You would imagine Chicago will hold a special place in Tadhg Beirne’s heart for quite some time after his double try-scoring first start for Ireland at the weekend.
Yet Beirne and the rest of the squad that returned from the United States yesterday morning have had to quickly turn the page on their 54-7 mauling of Italy at Soldier Field having reunited with the rest of Ireland player group to prepare for Saturday’s sold-out Aviva Stadium clash with Argentina.
The hope is that they have done enough to stake a claim for this considerable step up in class with the Pumas.
Beirne has certainly made an impressive return to Irish rugby with Munster and the national team.
Last Saturday’s start in the second row followed on from a Test debut off the bench in Melbourne against the Wallabies in June and a second cap in similar circumstances for the series decider in Sydney a week later and Beirne hit the ground running, scoring a maiden try in the fourth minute and another early in the second half.
It was a satisfying individual performance and enough to suggest he will get some gametime in the upcoming Guinness Series fixtures against both Argentina and the All Blacks. He certainly is hoping that is the case.
Of course. But I’ll take one game at a time and I’m hoping to be involved next week and if I’m lucky enough to be starting or on the bench, hopefully I’ll be ready for it,” Beirne said on Saturday night in Chicago.
“Obviously there are four second-rows over here and we’re all in the same boat. Hendo (Iain Henderson) is back over there in Ireland. Hopefully, I’ll be selected but whether I am or I’m not, it will be a normal training week either way.”
As for the All Blacks, who visit Dublin the week after next for a November 17 showdown, Beirne added: “They are number one in the world, you grow up watching those Ireland and All Black games, especially the one in Chicago two years ago. It would be pretty cool to play them.” Beirne would certainly have plenty of momentum after his own Chicago exploits.
“I was a little bit nervous going out there for my first start. But we started well and to get over for my first try was nice.
“It’s one of those where Jacob (Stockdale) set the tone by making that line break (from the kick-off) and we fed off that. Unfortunately for the rest of the half we didn’t really kick on as we would have liked to, we weren’t as accurate as we would have wanted and the pace of the game wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”
Scoring his first try for Ireland, he said, “was great”.
I don’t know how I managed to get over. I think Rhys (Ruddock) helped me, he said he gave me a nice little push. I had to stretch to get it over the line in the end but it counted and it was a great feeling.
Beirne may perhaps have got more plaudits for his performance had a fellow first Test starter not stolen his thunder against the Italians. Jordan Larmour’s dazzling second-half hat-trick secured the man-of-the-match award but Beirne is far from bitter at the 21-year-old’s rave reviews, particular for his third try as he danced through a succession of Italian tackle attempts in a 60-metre dash for the line.
“We were saying that if the Chicago Bears lad is looking at him, he might be poaching him. But Jordan Larmour is a bit of a freak when it comes to his speed and his agility, and everything he brings and that last try just showed it.
“He just picks them off like it’s nothing. He’s just a natural talent, isn’t he? He’s a gifted player, that’s what you’d call him, and he’s still not the finished article because he’s 21 and he’ll keep learning. So imagine how good he’ll be by the time he’s 27, 28.”