Beirne move still plays on his mind
Munster-bound Tadhg Beirne is still struggling with his decision to leave The Scarlets ahead of their Champions Cup quarter-final against La Rochelle tomorrow night (BTSport 2, KO 5.30).
"It still plays on my mind whether it was the right decision," said the Kildare man.
"It was a decision I had to take to develop my career and try to achieve that international ambition.
"If I wanted to do that I had to go home."
There lingers a conflict between the wish to further his career and the loyalty he feels towards Scarlets in that Beirne knows how the Welsh club rescued his career.
"It is a difficult one to take because the Scarlets took a big gamble on me when no one wanted me.
"I want to wear that Irish jersey at some stage and that's what I have based my decision on.
"Before that, I will do everything I can to repay the Scarlets for all they have done for me."
Coach Wayne Pivac has lavished praise on an Irishman he signed on nothing more than an instinct.
"He was delivering pizzas, trying to get his rugby career going and we were probably his last-chance saloon," said Pivac.
"We had pretty much put our squad together. We had one place left and not a lot of budget.
"We were looking for that rough diamond, which is exactly what he turned out to be.
"If you look at my career, he would have to be my best buy," said the New Zealander.
Beirne leads the PRO14 League (36), a record, and Champions Cup (14) in the vital turnover category.
"He is incredibly strong in the upper body through the arms, body and chest," said the coach.
"Once he locks in over the ball he is very hard to move.
"Everyone gets replaced, but that one part of his game is irreplaceable."