Ireland's Tadhg Bierne has said 'he only ever wanted to play for Ireland' and that playing for Wales was never an option

Ireland's Tadhg Bierne has said 'he only ever wanted to play for Ireland' and that playing for Wales was never an option

IRELAND AND MUNSTER LOCK Tadhg Beirne has said that he never considered playing for the Wales national team despite spending a good chunk of his career there.  

Beirne graduated through the Leinster academy but was released by the province in 2016 and soon after made the move to the Welsh side Scarlets that same year.

Bierne eventually came back to Ireland in 2018 but joined Leinster's rivals Munster instead.  

He has now gone onto become of the best back row options in the world at Munster and has become a mainstay in Andy Farrel's Ireland team since returning from Wales 

However, in another reality, the Eadestown native could very well have declared for Wales if things turned out differently.  

According to World Rugby guidelines, Bierne could have declared for Wales because of the residency rules in place for players 

"Players are eligible to switch nations if they have been stood down for three years – in other words, not been selected for 36 months – and if they, or a parent or grandparent, were born in the country they wish to represent," state the guidlines. 

Beirne had only ever played for the underage Ireland squads, but never the senior Ireland side.  

Wales and Ireland lock horns this weekend in the opening game of the Six Nations and the chance to represent another nation was not something that the 31-year-old aimed to do. He only had eyes for Ireland 

“I only ever wanted to play for Ireland, that was the reality," said Bierne at Ireland's training camp in Quinta do Lago on Saturday 

"And when it became a talking point that there was an opportunity to play for Ireland, the only thing I wanted to do was come back and play for Ireland. 

“So, I didn’t have a conversation with Warren, but I did have a conversation with Wayne before I left Scarlets and he tried to encourage me to stay because he did say the World Cup was the following year and I’d be qualified for it and all that. 

"But I think I’d made my decision before that, that I wanted to wear green for the World Cup not to be in red. 

“So, it didn’t really cross my mind too much to be honest because I wanted to play in green. If I felt, I didn’t have a chance maybe it would have been a different conversation 

Ireland's game against Wales in the Principality Stadium kicks off at 14.15pm Saturday, February 4 

Fans in Ireland can watch the game live on Virgin Media One. 

Ireland's team will be announced later this week.