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13th Sep 2023

“It was phenomenal” – Beirne hailed for his fitness as Ireland power on through the heat

Niall McIntyre

Brought to you by Heineken

Peter Stringer and Johne Murphy were blown away by the conditioning of the Ireland team during their Pool B opening round win over Romania.

Granted, their opponents were vastly inferior to your standard bearers of the game, your Frances or New Zealands but none-the-less, you can only beat what’s in front of you.

Andy Farrell’s side completed the task at hand in style and on House of Rugby, Ireland’s forwards came in for particular praise for the level of their conditioning.

Temperatures were suffocatingly high in Bordeaux, touching 37 degrees at some points, but Ireland’s big men didn’t wilt under the sun.

The sight of Tadhg Beirne, for example, galloping sixty yards to score a try in the last play sticks in the mind.

“Tadhg Beirne got through an astronomical amount of work,” said Murphy, the former Munster and Leicester Tigers player, “then ran 50 or 60 yards to score that try.

“That’s huge. It just shows the conditioning they’ve put under their belts now over the last six to eight weeks as well, and with the scrum cap on his head making it 10 degrees hotter as well!”

Legendary scrum half Peter Stringer was also impressed by Beirne and says that, as a number nine, it’s a tonic to play with forwards who have that sort of fitness and stamina.

“It was phenomenal, considering all the work that Tadhg had been through,” said Stringer.

“Your legs would be hanging at that stage but he showed a huge injection of pace.”

“I mean, when I would have played at nine, right throughout my career, and you look to increase the tempo in a game, the trouble sometimes you may have, with maybe your forwards not being as fit as you would like them.

“As a nine when you pick that ball up, sometimes in the past, guys might have been flat to the line.

“Some sets of forwards might be only getting back to position, some might be only getting off the ground to get back into the position.

“And even though the ball is available, you may just have to slow it down, but everyone now realises that, the tempo they want to be playing at, they have to be in position, and if they’re not in position at the correct depth, then they’re at fault and they’ll be picked out in that Monday morning review.

“So I think that’s great. There’s no slowing it down. Guys are just ready to play off that front-foot,” concluded Stringer.

Indeed, Andrew Porter told reporters that, during the game, he lost 4kg in the heat.

“I think I’m still struggling from the heat a bit, heat shock or something! That’s the hottest I have ever played in. You probably noticed by my skin colour, I was like a strawberry!”

“It’s all water weight really. We get it from our nutritionist day-in, day-out; hydration is the most important thing with the heat and obviously for injury prevention as well.

“It’s something we’ve come to, I wouldn’t say enjoy, but be able to endure a small bit.”

Murphy noted that, during their win over New Zealand, there were times when France were ‘gassed.’ Sometime down the line, in a tight game against one of the big nations, maybe Ireland’s fitness might just make the difference.


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