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Saturday 18 November 2017

Beirne ready to remind Blues what they have been missing

Scarlets’ Tadhg Beirne returns to Leinster on Friday. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Scarlets’ Tadhg Beirne returns to Leinster on Friday. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

It was his direct impact from the bench against his former club Leinster back in September that really kick-started Tadhg Beirne's Scarlets career.

Before that, the Kildare man had been closer to the back then the front of the queue of second rows at the West Wales club.

"I didn't start the way I would have liked," he said.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup provided Beirne the minutes to make a second impression.

There was a 'baby boom' at Scarlets where Jake Ball and Aaron Shingler became fathers and Dave Balbring picked up a shoulder injury to open the door.

"I got an opportunity against Leinster at home. I came off the bench and played well.

"Since then, I haven't really looked back," he said.

The Clongowes Wood College graduate has worked his way into position and held onto his shirt as aggressively as he has the 17 turnovers that have him an incredible fourth overall in that one statistical area in the League.

It was about time fortune favoured his bravery.

"I had a pretty stressful time in Leinster," he said.

"I had no regrets in staying. I became a better person and a better player.

"In hindsight, I could have left earlier. But, I wasn't playing and didn't have enough footage to leave earlier.

"That last year, Leo (Cullen) gave me another chance and that gave me the opportunity to come here.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Leinster."

It was the Kildareman's half-hour impact against his old club at Parc Y Scarlets that altered his coach Wayne Pivac's view.

The next week, Beirne made his first start against Zebre and there have been a further ten from eleven outings since then, eight of them for 80 minutes.

"Everything has been fitting into place for me this year which is really nice," he said.

The Scarlets have progressed from losing their first three League matches to winning 17 of their last 19.

Somewhere along that stretch of road, the motive moved from Beirne making an impression at the club to The Scarlets making a statement in the semi-final.

They sent a shadow squad to Leinster during the Six Nations window for what was a 45-9 humiliation in March.

"The last time we were there we didn't really stick to our game plan as much as we would have liked," said Beirne.

"Going into this game, we know what they are about. We know how strong they are.

"With the way we've been playing, we can't really dwell on that score-line too much.

All bets are off now that the regular season has been completed.

"When we are at full-strength we look really good," he stressed.

"Within the team, there is a real big confidence of getting the win on Friday."

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