Tadhg Beirne, a last-minute inclusion in the team that defeated Ospreys in Liberty Stadium on Friday night, may again take his place in the Munster second row on Saturday afternoon for their Guinness PRO14 game away to Scarlets.
Beirne answered a late SOS from Munster coach Johann van Graan to replace Jean Kleyn. He went on to highlight an outstanding contribution with a spectacular line-out steal on a throw close to his own line in the dying moments that proved crucial in securing the win.
“He was brilliant,” said van Graan. “I spoke to him at 8am on Thursday and he was still in bed. All of his gear was down in Carton House. He only joined us at about 9pm that evening. We had a walk-through in the parking lot on Friday morning. Everybody thinks it’s only a line-out but it’s knowing your whole play-sheet, your defensive system, your exits. He came in seamlessly and played a terrific game of rugby. He was very good in his poaching along with some of his counter-rucking in the second half. He had one or two nice carries and a crucial line-out steal. That is why you need special players in your team and set-up, to produce moments like that.”
It remains to be seen whether Joe Schmidt decides to keep Beirne in national camp next weekend in preparation for the Six Nations tie against France on Sunday week or release him back to Munster to provide him with more game time after a four-week lay-off due to a knee injury.
“I will have a discussion with Joe a bit later, they will take stock and then there will be communication,” said van Graan.
I would love to have him but if he goes to the national team we will also be very glad for him if he gets his opportunity. We will know a bit later in the week as to who we get back from the national team, if anybody.
“I will not be picking Tadhg’s brains about Scarlets because he played with them last season. It is not something I believe in. That is in the past. He had a brilliant time with the Scarlets, he was their player of the year and the PRO14 player of the year. We will do our homework on them and plan accordingly.”
Van Graan is awaiting word from Irish medics on the fitness of Joey Carbery, who is troubled by a hamstring complaint.
“He will remain with the national team and the medical teams will stay in contact. It’s a hamstring injury and it takes a bit of time to settle. Obviously, it’s a worry that he is hurt. He is one of our best players and we would love to have him for that game but that is still a very long way down the road. Hopefully, he will be back for Ireland against Wales or against the French.”
Much the same applies to CJ Stander, who is shaking off the affects of the cheekbone fracture he sustained during the Ireland-England clash. “CJ is in good form,” reported van Graan. “He is running a lot. He is doing a lot of work in the gym and will just have to recover as per his protocol.
“I think that is the beauty of, and the quality of, people like CJ. He does not have to be here but he is in every single video session, adding his bit and giving his experience to the younger guys. That is brilliant.”