Tadhg Beirne has come a long way since being sent off at Llandover after Drovers boss Euros Evans asked the Scarlets for “the last second line of their order”.

It was in 2016.

Beirne won the PRO 12 title with the Scarlets during the year. Twelve months later, he played in the semi-final of the Heineken Champions Cup before walking away with the Guinness Player of the Season award in PRO 14.

read more: The young giant of Harlequins, one of three exiles who made their debut for Wales in the Under-20 Six Nations against Ireland

Had he stayed at Llanelli for one more campaign he would have been eligible to play for Wales on permanent residency and could have been part of Warren Gatland’s 2019 World Cup squad.

But that wouldn’t happen, despite Wayne Pivac trying to encourage the blocker or backrower to stay.

However, such an attempt was doomed to fail, as the versatile striker demonstrated this week.

“I’ve always wanted to play for Ireland,” said Beirne, who faces Wales in the opening Six Nations game in Cardiff on Saturday. 42.

“It was a reality.

“I think when they started talking about playing for Ireland all I wanted was to come back and play for Ireland.

“So I didn’t talk to Warren but I did talk to Wayne before he left the Scarlets and he was trying to encourage me to stay because he said there’s a World Cup next year and I’m going to qualify for it and everything. . Yeah, but I think I made the decision before to wear green at the World Cup and not red.

“Honestly, it didn’t cross my mind why I wanted to play in green. If I felt like I didn’t have a chance, maybe that would be a different conversation.”

It is no exaggeration to say that Beirne’s time in West Wales helped to shape his life both on and off the pitch. His wife Harriet is Welsh and has never looked back after breaking into the Scarlets team and in the summer of 2018 played his first game for Ireland. Just three months ago he was named in the World Rugby Dream Team at the end of the year, in which the plaudits continued and his outstanding performance for Ireland in the third Test against New Zealand in the summer saw him dubbed the ‘standout’. .

Not bad for a man who was sacked by Leinster before reporting to the Scarlets and starting at number one in West Wales. You can read more about how the star went from pizza delivery boy to Lions Trial winner here.

Llandovery boss Evans recalled a conversation he had with Scarlets’ John Daniels about the possibility of a lockout in 2016: “I said to him, ‘Give us the second line, who’s last for you’ because expected us to see him. a lot. , who.

“John said, ‘There’s a guy coming over from Ireland. We don’t know much about him, so you might as well take him with you. It was perfect for us, but Thad only played two games.”

He only played twice because it was obvious he was good enough to play at the highest level.

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When he arrived at the club with a pad and pen to write down the details of the conversations and the different games, he soon turned his attention to the Tropeiros. He was someone a little different. He was then man of the match against Cardiff, “spinning the ball all over the park”.

Beirne was on his way.

But to his great credit, he hasn’t forgotten his brief stint at Church Bank, remaining in the Llandovery WhatsApp group until he left the Scarlets.

“Stuff like that makes a big difference,” Evans said.

Munster striker Beirne himself has come a long way since those decisive days seven years ago.

Wales will need to go beyond winning the Six Nations against Ireland on Saturday and keeping the Munster man off the ball to prevent him losing possession.

It’s not impossible.

But the former Scarlett is one of Ireland’s biggest threats.

And every Welsh player will know this.

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