PETER O’MAHONY AND Tadhg Beirne have already paired up to destructive effect in the Munster jersey and now they’re preparing to do something similar in green against Wales. 

O’Mahony has played every minute of the Six Nations for Ireland coming into tomorrow’s final round and he is excited to team up with Beirne at Test level, after the second row was named in Joe Schmidt’s starting team for tomorrow’s Cardiff clash.

Tadhg Beirne will make his Six Nations debut tomorrow. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It will be Beirne’s first appearance in the Six Nations and just his fifth Test cap but his Munster captain is in no doubt that he is ready for what will be the biggest challenge of his career yet.

O’Mahony and Beirne will certainly pose a huge turnover threat to the Welsh tomorrow.

The blindside flanker is joint-top of the turnover charts in the Six Nations so far, only France’s Antoine Dupont matching his five, with three of O’Mahony’s efforts being jackal turnovers at the breakdown.

Add in two further lineout steals from O’Mahony and his impact as a destroyer of opposition possession is clear.

As for Beirne, he is top of the turnover charts in the Heineken Cup this season with 13, 10 of those jackal efforts and the other three being won in the tackle.

In the Pro14, Beirne is joint-top of the lineout steals charts with seven, while he has 15 turnovers around the pitch, including 13 jackaling poaches. 

Mauls, tackles, the breakdown, lineouts – O’Mahony and Beirne are not fussy, they just want the ball back.

Asked about Beirne now being given the chance to bring his destructive touch to the Six Nations, O’Mahony had no doubt the 27-year-old can make an impact.

“I think Tadhg has set his own standards over the last two and a half, three years,” said O’Mahony.

O’Mahony and Beirne have worked well together with Munster. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Obviously, he’s spent a long time in Scarlets and with us and he’s been incredibly impressive for both the Scarlets and us over the last two or three years. 

“He gets his shot in the Six Nations and it’s utterly deserved. He’s put a lot of hard work in. He got a couple of knocks here and there but he’s worked hard over the last few weeks and guys know what he brings and how important he’ll be to us this weekend.

“The other side of it is a lot of these guys have played alongside him and know what he’s about so I suppose there’s two angles to it. As I said, we’re all hugely confident in these guys.”

O’Mahony also pointed out that there is more to Beirne than his defensive prowess.

“His ability going forward, to pick a line, his ball handling skills,” said O’Mahony. “He’s a footballer, you know? He could probably play across the back row as well, even though I’d certainly rather he didn’t!

“So he’s the complete package and I’m delighted to have him alongside us this weekend.”

Wales will have some concern about the sight of Beirne’s blue scrum cap as he clamps down onto their possession at the breakdown, with O’Mahony sure to be in the vicinity to have an effort at other times.

They will both be integral to the Irish lineout too, looking to secure clean possession to launch Schmidt’s clever set-piece plays as they also do their best to disrupt Alun Wyn Jones and the Welsh throw.

Beirne and Ryan are the second row partnership. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

22-year-old James Ryan, who has experience in the field, will be tasked with calling Ireland’s lineout but O’Mahony knows as well as anyone that this is a collective task.

“We have our little lineout group and we’ll all row in like we do every week,” said the Ireland vice-captain.

“Particularly with Jamesy, I’ve a little bit more experience I suppose playing a few more Tests and any help I can give him during the week I’ve tried to give to him but he’s a confident young fella.

“He does his homework and we get our confidence from our training week. He’s been excellent all week, he’s done his homework and we’re all positive about him.”

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey on The42 Rugby Weekly as Ireland bid to spoil Wales’ Grand Slam party in Cardiff, and the U20s target their own piece of history.

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