Family reunion adds to Bealham's joy at beating England
Ireland's victory over England proved to be an extra special day for Finlay Bealham as the try-scoring prop was reunited with his parents for the first time in over two years.
The Australia-born front-row came on in the final six minutes of Saturday's Six Nations clash at Twickenham and crowned his brief appearance with a score that gave title-chasing Ireland what could prove to be a key bonus point.
Coronavirus regulations have prevented the 30-year-old Connacht front row, qualified for Ireland through his grandmother, returning to Australia since the start of the pandemic.
But Bealham's parents were at Twickenham, with his father pictured in tears as the family hugged one another after Ireland's 32-15 win.
"It was brilliant to get on and unreal to score a try as well thanks to James Lowe's really good carry," said Bealham.
"It put me in a nice position to get over the line and it was a lovely try. It was just nice for me to be out there."
- 'Emotional' -
He added: "I had my parents there, who I haven't seen for the past two and a half years with Covid, so it was a really special day for the team and a really special day for me personally as well.
"I got to see them after the game in the crowd and it was a really emotional moment for us. Certainly this is a day that the Bealham family won't forget."
Ireland had a man advantage for most of the game after England lock was sent off just 82 seconds in for a head-on-head clash challenge on James Ryan.
Yet England managed to level the game at 15-15 with 20 minutes left before late tries from Jack Conan and Bealham finally saw Ireland pull clear after Lowe and Hugo Keenan had gone over in the first half.
France top the table on 18 points after winning their first four games and will take the title with a Grand Slam if they beat England in Paris on March 19.
Ireland, however, have 16 points and could win their first title since 2018 with victory or even a draw against Scotland in Dublin should England upset France in the last game of this season's Championship.
"We'll be solely focused on our game and do everything we can to put out a really good performance and let the chips fall where they may," said Bealham.
"England are a quality team and France are a top-quality team, so there's going to be fireworks in that game.
"Thankfully, throughout this tournament we've racked up a couple of bonus-point wins and then the losing bonus point and they're very critical; going into the last game of the Six Nations those extra points add up."
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