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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018

'I went up to Carbery after the game and said, 'I love your work''

The Ireland out-half got valuable experience for 57 minutes against the Wallabies.

Murray Kinsella reports from Brisbane

JOE SCHMIDT RATED his performance as “pretty solid” and Michael Cheika revealed that he is a big fan, so Joey Carbery can be relatively pleased with the first big start of his Ireland career.

It would have been unfair to expect fireworks from the soon-to-be Munster out-half but while he made errors in a 57-minute outing, Carbery also showed several of his qualities too.

Joey Carbery dejected after the game Carbery after Ireland's defeat in Brisbane. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The 22-year-old was making just his third start at out-half for Ireland, named at 10 ahead of Johnny Sexton, and this exposure will likely prove extremely valuable for him moving forward.

Schmidt underlined Carbery’s failure to slot a kickable first-half penalty that could have moved Ireland ahead in the 47th minute but also pointed out some of the better aspects of his play too.

“I thought he was pretty solid really,” said Schmidt. “He came off the field at 9-8 [in Ireland's favour]; that’s not a bad return for a young man who’s really starting his first big Tier 1 Test match. He put a lot of work into his preparation during the week.

“He’ll be disappointed with the goal kick that he didn’t get because it was a reasonably comfortable angle and that could have just given us a little bit of a comfort zone and applied a little bit more pressure to the Wallabies.

“But I thought his tackle quality was good and his distribution was generally good. He put a few guys into a little bit of space.

“He missed a couple of passes due to that pressure of time and, certainly, they were giving us as little as possible. They were all over us at times and it did make it very hard to be able to spring too much together.”

It’s expected that Sexton will return to Ireland’s number 10 shirt next weekend in Melbourne as Schmidt’s team attempt to rebound and level the series before the final game in Sydney on 23 June.

Joey Carbery Carbery got 57 minutes at out-half. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

That would certainly strengthen Ireland for the second Test but Wallabies boss Michael Cheika said they hadn’t felt they were being disrespected when Carbery was selected ahead of Sexton for today’s game, along with an all-changed front row.

“No, not at all,” said Cheika. “Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong came on with 35 minutes to go, just after half-time. They played a significant part of the game.

“Johnny a little bit later but Carbery, he’s a star. I’ve been watching him and I went up to him after the game because I’ve never met him before and I said, ‘I love your work’ because that guy can play footy, he is an outstanding player.

“I reckon Johnny wouldn’t have been happy letting him have the start. When he came on, Johnny was as threatening as ever. He’s always sniffing around and giving us trouble, he’s got a kicking game, all that type of stuff.”

It will be intriguing to see what Carbery’s role is for the remainder of this tour but this outing in the opening Test should help him to continue progressing.

Ireland and their young out-half will have learned key lessons that should help them to get better.

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Murray Kinsella

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