Sean McMahon reports from Thomond Park.
Munster and Ireland will sweat on the fitness of man-of-the-match Tadhg Beirne, who picked up a knee injury in the second half of the southern province’s 9-7 victory over the Exeter Chiefs at Thomond Park tonight.
Beirne, who played a pivotal role in Munster’s win and their subsequent progression to the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup, took a blow to the knee on the near touchline when competing at a ruck.
The Kildare native looked to be in considerable discomfort and he attempted to traverse the pitch to compete in a defending lineout only for him to realise that he wouldn’t be able to continue as he was replaced by Billy Holland.
Beirne’s form for Munster this season has been superb and Joe Schmidt will certainly hope it’s not too serious as the Ireland squad convene tomorrow for the Six Nations.
“It’s pretty early,” Johann van Graan said in the post-match press conference.
“He’ll definitely go for a scan on that knee. Hopefully, it’s not serious, but he couldn’t continue.
“We’ll get the information across to Joe [Schmidt]. 11 of our lads are going to the national side tomorrow.”
In terms of Beirne’s performance, van Graan couldn’t be happier with how the former Scarlets man performed tonight.
“I think Tadhg’s a special player. He’s had a few man-of-the-match performances in this competition. He’s very dynamic and he’s one of the only locks in world rugby who can poach the way he can.
“He’s worked so hard on his calling. When he arrived he wasn’t really a calling option, I threw him into the deep end. I think he’s developed into one of the form locks in the competition.”
Munster will have to wait until tomorrow before they know for sure their quarter-final opposition but at this stage, it looks like they will be taking a trip to Murrayfield to face Edinburgh at the end of March.