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Finaly Bealham form presents Andy Farrell with 'neat challenge', says Pete Wilkins

Connacht boss Pete Wilkins says Finlay Bealham has given Andy Farrell a "neat challenge" when it comes to Ireland's next Guinness Six Nations match against Wales.

The tighthead prop started Sunday's win over Italy, playing 55 minutes and contributing to a 100% return from scrum and lineout.

In addition, the 32-year-old, who welcomed a baby son to his family last week, made five tackles and carried the ball seven times.

The Australian native replaced the 73-cap Tadhg Furlong in the starting line-up but the Leinster and Lions front row is expected to recover from a calf injury in time for the round-three match.

Ulster’s Tom O’Toole, who came on for Connacht's Bealham [pictured below], has also proven himself to be a reliable option

"I was delighted for Finlay, delighted he got the start," Wilkins told RTÉ Sport.

"I thought he really seized the opportunity, particularly around that scrum against an Italian pack that are strong in that area.

"I’d agree [that he’s put his hand up].

"It was obviously a massive week for him personally and to round it off with a performance like that, we were all delighted for him.

"What Finlay has shown off the bench consistently is that he belongs at that level, not that he can just survive at international level but that he can contribute to the team’s performance.

"When you are coming on in the second half or for the final quarter, there is always a context that’s prepared for you and you are hopefully contributing to that whereas that chance for him to start and impose himself on the game, it’s just a brilliant opportunity.

"The key challenge for him was to show that growth, expertise and maturity he’s now got around the set-piece but still maintain his impact and dynamism in general play, carrying