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"I would be shocked if he’s not going to Japan"

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

01:39 17 Apr 2018


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Tadhg Beirne will face former side Leinster in the semi-final of the Champions Cup this weekend with current side Scarlets, less than two years after being released by the province.

Former Leinster fly-half Andy Dunne joined Ger Gilroy and Paul Rouse on OTB AM this morning to discuss this Saturday’s game, and the discussion soon turned towards the outstanding form of Scarlets second-row, who was man-of-the-match in last year’s 27-15 Pro12 semi-final win over Leinster, and was nominated for European Player of the Year.

Dunne believes that the Kildare native is worthy of a place in the international set up, once he completes his move to Munster in the summer.

“Based on current form, it’s a brilliantly timed move coming back to Ireland next season, and I would be shocked if he’s not going to Japan.”

“If you pushed me on the three best athletes, overall rugby player, and ability, it would be James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, and Iain Henderson with Devin Toner being the more traditional second-row who could be an option to run a line out well for you but he’s also a player who’s getting older as well.”

“18 months is a long time away. I could see him [Beirne] breaking in there, his all-round ability, his ball-carrying, his work-rate, his tackle-count, his contribution at the breakdown -- it’s pretty immense".

"I would be shocked if he’s not going to Japan"

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The trio also discussed the relationship between Leinster and Scarlets and whether a comparison could be drawn between the fierce rivalry that exists between national counterparts Leinster and Munster, though Dunne wasn't completely set on the idea.

“I think historically speaking, probably not.

“I don’t think it’s like a Leinster / Munster rivalry.

“I think in recent years the personnel and the profiles involved, I think it’s got a bit of a heated edge to it for sure, I think there is a bit of niggle.”

Dunne also noted how the Pro12 semi-final loss last year affected Leinster, and how Scarlets style of play could mean we're in for fantastic game this Saturday.

“I think they beat Leinster at their own game last year and potentially that was something that affected the ego of Leinster or the whole group in terms of how they operate.

“They were deconstructed by a side playing a better version of rugby than they can play and that’s probably going to affect their confidence, maybe it affected their mood as a group, but you know I do think Scarlets play superb rugby when they’re on form so it could be a clash of styles as well.”

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