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'He'll give it every shot to be ready' - Van Graan hopeful for Carbery

The Munster out-half is in a race against time to be fit for the World Cup.

IN A SHORT space of time, Joey Carbery and Johann van Graan have built up a rather strong relationship.

The image of them embracing at Murrayfield earlier this year after Ireland had beaten Scotland stands out strong in the memory.

joey-carbery-celebrates-winning-with-johann-van-graan Van Graan and Carbery have grown close at Munster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

That Carbery has moved to a new level as a player by van Graan handing him Munster’s 10 shirt helps, of course, but the South African coach has always placed an emphasis on getting to know the person as well as the player.

Van Graan naturally felt for Carbery when he saw him pick up an ankle injury for Ireland against Italy two and a half weeks ago, and with the out-half having since undergone a minor procedure with the aim of being fit in time to go to the World Cup, the Munster boss is now as hopeful as anyone that the 23-year-old can achieve his goal.

“He was in here in the High Performance Centre [in UL] on Friday, I had a chat with him,” said van Graan yesterday in Limerick.

“He’s going to give himself every chance to be ready.

“He’s under the guidance of the national team’s medical team and I’m sure they’ll make the best decision for them and for him. Whatever decision they make, I’m sure it will be the right one.”

Van Graan knows just how much Carbery wants to be involved in Japan, particularly having enjoyed a strong first season with Munster and improved as an out-half over the past year.

irelands-joey-carbery Carbery was excellent against Italy before injury. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The signs against Italy before the injury were highly positive from Carbery, who looked in excellent physical condition and confident form.

“He’s really pumped to get there,” said van Graan. “Obviously getting to a World Cup, at that age and in that form… I think he’s been in brilliant form over the last 12 months, so I think he’s looking forward to it very much.

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“But your body has got to work with you and these things happen.

“We’ve seen all the Test matches and guys get injured, but he’ll give it every shot to be ready.”

Carbery’s injury has certainly changed Joe Schmidt’s plans during the World Cup warm-up games, with Ross Byrne handed the 10 shirt last weekend against England, as Jack Carty came off the bench.

Having sustained a knock in training last week, first-choice out-half Johnny Sexton is unlikely to feature against Wales in Cardiff this weekend, meaning Carty and Byrne should get further opportunities.

Schmidt is still hopeful that Carbery comes through his recovery from the ankle injury as quickly as possible, leaving him available to travel to Japan as a genuine option to select against Scotland for the 22 September opener in Yokohama.

joey-carbery-with-johann-van-graan Carbery is a key player for Munster. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

While Carbery might not have had an ideal run-in to that game, it seems likely that Schmidt would still be keen to pick him on the bench as back-up to Sexton.

Van Graan himself has brought Carbery back into the Munster team directly after a hamstring injury, although that didn’t work out well.

“I picked him for the Edinburgh game [in the Champions Cup quarter-finals],” said van Graan. “He started it quite well and then, unfortunately, got injured again.

“But I’ll use another example – when I was still with the Springboks, Duane Vermeulen came back from an ACL injury and we picked him against Argentina and he played 80 minutes, so there’s no way to know.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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