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Carbery comes through 'nervous days' of injury to make the World Cup

The 23-year-old had a real scare when he injured his ankle in Ireland’s first warm-up game.

JOEY CARBERY’S FACE said it all as the stretcher cart drove onto the pitch at the Aviva Stadium on 10 August and gave him a lift off, with the Munster man’s ankle having been painfully rolled as the out-half made a tackle.

Following a superb 49-minute display in Ireland’s first warm-up game against Italy, there was suddenly real fear that Carbery might not play at the World Cup.

joey-carbery Carbery is fit and available again after his recent ankle injury. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Fast forward five-and-a-half weeks, though, and the Athy man is back in full training with Ireland and could make his comeback off the bench as Joe Schmidt’s side open their World Cup campaign against Scotland on Sunday in Yokohama.

“The ankle is feeling pretty good,” said Carbery at Ireland’s team hotel in the city today.

“I’m pretty happy, there was a couple of nervous days in between from when the injury happened. I’m pretty happy just to be here and, I suppose, it’s great that the ankle is kind of healing.

“My first thought, it was more, ‘I hope it’s not as severe as initially thought’. In the back of your mind, you do think that [you could miss the World Cup].

“Within myself, I was kind of like, ‘Will I be ready, will I be ok to go?’ But then I had great help with the physios and the doctors, they got me through it all. It was a lot of long days but it’s worth it all in the end.  

“I was very fortunate to be able to get back as quick as I did.”

Carbery’s return to full training this week means he’s in line to be part of Ireland’s matchday 23 for the Scotland clash, although Jack Carty is another option to back-up Johnny Sexton.

One of the attractive aspects with Carbery, from Schmidt’s point of view, is that he can play more than one position.

joey-carbery-and-peter-omahony Carbery with Munster captain Peter O'Mahony in the gym. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

If he is on the bench against Scotland, he will primarily be covering Sexton at out-half, but he also has plenty of history as a fullback. Carbery says Schmidt has never asked him about playing at inside centre but he’d be “more than happy to give it a go.”

The 23-year-old is Ireland’s third-in-line at scrum-half in Japan too, with Schmidt having opted to bring only Conor Murray and Luke McGrath in that slot. Carbery played at nine as a youngster but U18 level was the last time he did so.

“I did a bit of passing when I had the ankle injury,” he said. “I’ve only trained this week, so I haven’t had too many opportunities to get in [to scrum-half] and train there.

“Wherever the management need me, I’ll be happy to fit in. 

“Because I’ve only trained this week, I’ve only been really in at around 10, so I haven’t had too much time other than this week to do anything. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll get into the other positions. At the moment, it has just been at 10. ”

Carbery’s exact role in this World Cup remains to be seen but he could be a crucial figure for Schmidt with his versatility, creativity, intelligence, and deft skills.

“It’s really exciting,” said Carbery of being in Japan. “It’s a great group to be in. We have a bit of banter between ourselves and its a great place to be.

“It’s cool to be able to be in Japan too, it’s new and it’s all different.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Yokohama

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