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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 21 March, 2018

'He’s thriving at this level' - Leinster confident of Carbery class

The 20-year-old created a score last weekend and had a pass picked off for a Glasgow try.

JOEY CARBERY’S CLASS becomes more and more apparent with every bit of game time he gets.

That was true in the Ulster Bank League last season, as the 20-year-old helped Clontarf to the Division 1A title, and it’s also true of the opening round of this season’s Guinness Pro12.

Carbery has grabbed his opportunity in the province’s 10 shirt, with Johnny Sexton remaining on the comeback trail after shoulder surgery at the end of last season.

Against Glasgow last weekend, highly-promising New Zealand native Carbery produced the latest touches that show Leinster have a fine prospect on their hands.


His cross-field kick late in the first half provided Zane Kirchner with as straightforward a finish as he could hope for, while also intelligently taking advantage of Glasgow’s stretched back three after Leonardo Sarto’s yellow card.

Along with that delicious touch with the boot, Carbery prompted Leinster’s ambitious attack around and through the Glasgow defence.


Carbery is more than willing to take the punishment that goes along with playing on the gainline.

Amongst all the positives – of which there have been so many in his first two Leinster starts – was a second-half moment that a weak-minded player could easily dwell upon.

Leinster led 22-12 with 52 minutes of the game played, before they gave up two tries to the Glaswegians in three minutes of game time.

Carbery saw his long pass picked off for the first of them.


An early lesson for the the young out-half to learn from?

Leinster don’t quite see it that way, and have instead reviewed the incident as a backline unit error. Assistant coach John Fogarty suggests that Carbery could have been helped by Rob Kearney in particular.

“It’s a good read from [Tommy] Seymour,” says Fogarty. “I’m not sure who was due to receive the ball but their run might have been a bit more square and that [would have] helped them out a bit, so we wouldn’t heap that all on Joey.

“He’s quite a calm guy and he won’t dwell too long on that pass.

“We’re not going to do that either. He’s learning as he is going and maybe that is part of it: overplaying a little bit inside the 22 or around our own half. That’s the game management. There are good learnings in it for Joey.

“It’s not all on one person. Certainly, we wouldn’t be looking at one person. Very often, it would be an error in that backline. We’re not going to stress over it.”

Rather than focus on the possible shortcomings, Leinster are keen to stress that Carbery is stepping up to the mark for them.

Joey Carbery Carbery has been impressive in the opening games of the season. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Before the season started, the perception was that Carbery would be locked in a battle with Cathal Marsh and Ross Byrne for the back-up out-half slot behind Sexton. Now Carbery would appear to be the clear second choice.

“I think he has stepped up to the level,” says Fogarty. “He’s thriving at this level right now. He is a young player, there are going to be little bits that need to be improved.

The way things work is you can only improve those things through your experiences. The really good part about Joey is his mindset. He’s quite calm, he understands, he’s smart. Hopefully, he’ll develop as he goes.

“Again, it was a really positive game for Joey. It’s a very tough place to go. They bring an awful lot of line-speed at you, they’re tough guys when they are in front of you. I thought he did quite well, I wouldn’t focus in on that one pass.

“In the long run, it will be a good thing to happen to Joey in his learning. Stuff happens sometimes. You’ve got to be able to roll with it and be able to keep playing.”

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