Beirne and Addison both have chance to raise spirits and Japan hopes

Duo come into Joe Schmidt’s side for trip to Cardiff as Ireland look to brighten the mood

Unbeknownst to each other, Tadhg Beirne and Will Addison come before the gallery in Carton House as potential saviours of this already creaking World Cup adventure.

Ireland, according to Warren Gatland and a growing number of onlookers, need a new twist; something to enhance the rugby by numbers ideology that has rapidly run out of steam.

This is not a news flash for David Nucifora and Joe Schmidt. The rugby department on Lansdowne road has been busy seeking successors from abroad since Jared Payne attempted to fill the 13 jersey at RWC 2015.

That’s why Addison’s Enniskillen roots were unearthed and why Munster swooped for Beirne before Wales could attach him to their blindside flank.

Neither lives at home anymore. They moved to Belfast and Limerick to gain access to the green jersey, and play at this year's Rugby World Cup.

Both are capable of extinguishing the malaise that surrounds camp Schmidt.

Addison would be deeper into the fold but for back surgery rupturing some astonishing early season form with Ulster. Be it fullback or centre, the 27-year-old overflowed with promise.

Schmidt’s Ireland needs this product of Cumbria’s Lake District to shine on Saturday afternoon as much as the late evolving Clongowes Wood product must stymie Welsh desire for fast ball.

In stark contrast to how they appear with grass underfoot, neither man looked comfortable sitting before microphones and cameras.

“Ulster and Ireland medical teams worked really hard to get me right for the first part of pre-season but we missed the first window. I got the opportunity to come into the camp for the Galway week and since then it feels like smooth sailing in terms of my injury,” said Addison.

Beirne suffered similar luck when tweaking his knee in January away to Gloucester, his latest superb showing over opposition ball.

"It was unfortunate timing coming into the Six Nations, " said Beirne.

“I got my opportunity against Wales but obviously that didn’t go too well on the day.”

It started perfectly, with one of his trademark turnovers near the Irish try line, and he pulled off two similar steals in a cameo against Italy this month.

Now, finally, Beirne gets the chance to show off at flanker, the position from where he was nominated for European player of the year when playing for Scarlets in 2017.

“I have to be ready for any position,” said Beirne, echoing a similar comment by Addison. “I am comfortable in the backrow.”

It’s conceivable neither player will be included in Ireland’s World Cup squad. That would indicate another poor showing by the collective this weekend. It would also signal a collapse in morale.

“If the opportunity presents itself right in front of me I’ll certainly have a crack at the ball but otherwise I’ll be staying in the defensive system and looking to help in that way.”

Beirne is learning the dialect of a regular Schmidt player. Addison sounds fluent in doublespeak. It’s not their fault. Days out from a nothing match with equal potential to sully their careers, you keep it simple and escape. But everyone knows the score. Addison and Beirne can change the entire narrative.

Saviours or bust.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent

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