Tadhg Beirne is just happy to be involved in the Irish 15 on Saturday given the winding road he has taken to a starting Ireland berth.
The Munster lock will start in the back row on Saturday alongside skipper Peter O'Mahony and Jack Conan who replacees CJ Stander. Beirne is one of 11 changes to the side after the record defeat to England at Twickenham the previous week.
Beirne looked like he was heading for a starting place early in the Six Nations until injury struck. That start did eventually come, also against Wales.
It's a situation Beirne himself describes as "unfortunate timing."He continued,"There's never a good time to get injured because there is always something you want to get involved in coming up. Unfortunately for me, it was the 6 Nations."
"Some of the other second rows were carrying knocks too, so there probably was potential for me to get an opportunity but it wasn't to be. You just focus on getting back fit after that."
He did make it back later in the Six Nations: "I was back in for the Italy week but I got my opportunity against Wales. That obviously didn't go too well on the day." Ireland suffered a 25-7 defeat in Cardiff that day.
Beirne though is happy to get another shot at Wales. "Look I'm getting another really good opportunity this weekend against wales again. Its fingers crossed it might go a bit better this time around."
Where he plays isn't a concern for the former Scarlets man. "I have to be ready for any position. I was on the bench for back row last week an was put into lock because I've been asked to cover those positions."
He went on: "I'm happy to be in the back row, I'm quite comfortable there I played a lot there when I was with Scarlets. I only played one game there with Munster last year, but it's obviously an area I'm quite comfortable in."
"It's just about being prepared and knowing my role in all of those positions and just being comfortable in it. I'm more than happy to play in any of them as long as I'm on the field or in the 23 I'll put my hand up."
He even offered to play in the backs. "You can throw me in at 15 if you want." probably for the benefit of starting full-back Will Addison who was alongside the Munster man.
While other teams such as England and Australia have gone for two opensides, Beirn isn't worried about the balance of the Irish back row on Saturday.
Beirne will play his own game and not try force turnovers, a core strength of the Munster man's game. He says he is aware of other defensive responsibilities, not just hunting turnovers.
"I think you don't want to go our of the defensives system and just start chasing rucks. there's no point in that. It's just going to cause holes in other areas of the field.
"If the opportunity presents itself right in front of me I'll certainly have a crack at the ball, but otherwise, I'll be just staying in the defensive system and looking to fit in that way."
The game gets underway at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday at 2.30. It will be Warren Gatland's final game in charge of Wales on home soil.
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