Joe Schmidt Reveals Why Tadhg Beirne Hasn’t Been Called Up For The Six Nations

Complex.

Joe Schmidt has revealed that the situation regarding Tadhg Beirne, and a potential call-up for the Six Nations is complex. The Scarlets lock has been in incredible form, but wasn’t called up to the Ireland squad for their opening two rounds against France and Italy.

While Beirne is currently plying his trade in Wales, technically making him unavailable for selection, there have been calls to adopt a reverse approach to what has happened to Munster’s Simon Zebo.

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Zebo was cast out of the Ireland squad as soon as it became apparent he was leaving for France at the end of the season. By the same accord, many have suggested Beirne be brought in now, seeing as he’s returning to Ireland with Munster at the end of the season.

Schmidt says unfortunately it’s not that easy. Speaking at today’s Six Nations, as reported by Murray Kinsella of The42, the Ireland boss says he has spoken to Beirne, but a call-up is unlikely due to complications with the Scarlets.

“It’s a complex one when they’re playing away from Ireland,” said Schmidt.

“He’s committed to coming back to Munster next year, which is super and we had a conversation at the start of the season about that happening.

“We had a really good conversation recently too. I think the problem with Tadhg is that with [World Rugby’s] Regulation 9 it’s a camp week this week, but that’s only a three-day camp week. So if we take him to Spain, we’re required to make him back available to Scarlets.

“He’s played around 1350 minutes already this season – our players don’t usually play that much. Now, I had a great chat with Wayne Pivac and they’ve had injuries to Jake Ball and Lewis Rawlins, so that happens in squads sometimes.

“Because he’s so resilient and because he’s played so well – I thought he was huge in the last two games and in the Toulon game particularly – but he’s going to come in and visit us, and we’ll get to catch up again.

“I’ve known Tadhg since he was in Leinster and I think he’s a really committed young man as well. I wouldn’t rule him out completely, but it is complicated.

Schmidt says Ireland would be required to release Beirne back to the Scarlets during the Six Nations too, meaning he would have to travel backwards and forwards, making things difficult.

He did however suggest that Beirne will be called up for the June summer tour of Australia.

“It also means that during the Six Nations, [we would have that] backwards and forwards. So if we have those camp weeks or regeneration weeks, where players get a bit of a rest, he’s got to go back and be available to play for Scarlets.

“That intermittent involvement with the squad, particularly when it’s your first involvement, is probably one of the things that just tipped the balance away from him.

“And the other thing that tipped the balance was I thought James Ryan was really good against Montpellier for Leinster. Iain Henderson is playing big for Ulster, I thought he played big last week.

“Dev Toner has carried really well for Leinster, as well as his lineout acumen. Quinn Roux has been a really physical contributor to the Connacht cause, and Ultan Dillane’s repeated high-intensity game involvements have been really good as well.

“When you stack that up and you’ve still got guys like Kieran Treadwell and Billy Holland, who are working hard and playing well in Ireland, you’re always trying to get that balance right about selecting Tadhg with that intermittent involvement and with those high game minutes.

“It’s just a little bit complicated but that complication will cease at the end of the season and that may be an opportunity.”