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I have to keep hunting ball despite risk of yellow, says Beirne

Tadhg Beirne
Tadhg Beirne

By Cian Tracey

Tadhg Beirne plays the game in such a manner that the reality is he will always leave himself vulnerable to the referee's interpretation of the breakdown.

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The 27-year-old's reputation has been growing rapidly over the last few years and that has largely been down to his ability to steal opposition ball.

There is far more to Beirne's game than that one aspect, but his jackal threat is what really separates him from other locks.

Acting almost as another back-rower, the Co Kildare native is given the freedom to go after the ball as much as possible with Munster.

Making the considerable step up to international rugby means that it is much more difficult to be as effective in that regard, especially when he has to fit into a more rigid system.

Coming into the World Cup, there were concerns that Joe Schmidt didn't fully trust Beirne just yet, but having featured in all three games thus far, it is fair to say that is not the case.

Even after Beirne was shown a yellow for a breakdown infringement on his World Cup debut, Schmidt stuck by him.

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Perhaps that was an acknowledge­ment on the Kiwi's part that some calls will not go your way, or rather Schmidt recognised that it was a harsh decision by Wayne Barnes to send Beirne to the sin bin in Ireland's opening win over Scotland.

Ask Beirne if that was the case and his wry smile is followed by tight lips.

"That's not for me to decide," he said. "It was close to the line. It's still a yellow at the end of the day. I came on in the second game and got stung for another penalty, but I thought I did bring a bit of energy, and then I thought I did reasonably well against Russia.

"I was a bit disappointed to get the yellow against Scotland. I've been slowly hitting my form a bit and hopefully I can step it up again this week."

Another referee would have taken a different view of the breakdown but, even still, Beirne knows he has to be more street smart.

"I was probably silly when I look back on it," he added. "I personally thought I was on the ball straight away but my right hand wasn't on it and I was in there for quite a while. I probably have to be a bit smarter myself. If I hadn't gotten it at that stage it probably would have been more clever to let it go. But it definitely won't stop me going after ball if the opportunity arises.

"That's the nature of the game. I can say I regret it but I still have to go after those balls. This one went against me but I just need to be a bit more clever."

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