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'We want him to stay' - Leinster still hoping Carbery remains amidst Munster interest

The 22-year-old out-half has a big decision in front of him ahead of next season.

LEINSTER HAVE UNDERLINED that they are hoping Joey Carbery will remain at the province next season, with Munster understood to be interested in the Ireland international.

Billy Holland and Joey Carbery Carbery started at fullback against Munster last weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The IRFU had presented Carbery with an opportunity to join Ulster this summer in order to gain more game time at out-half in the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but the 22-year-old expressed a reluctance to move north.

However, it now appears that a move to Munster is also an option for Carbery, with the southern province still having concerns over Tyler Bleyendaal’s recovery from neck surgery.

With the Guinness Pro14 final ahead on Saturday, it seems unlikely that any possible move for Carbery will be confirmed in the short-term and Leinster insisted that they are still unsure where Carbery will be playing next season.

“I’m not sure what the latest is,” said assistant coach John Fogarty today in UCD. “He’s preparing for a final this week, he was preparing for a semi-final last week, so I don’t know where it’s at.

“I don’t know, I’m not going to speak on behalf of Joey. I’m not sure when a decision is going to be made and when it’s going to be made.”

However, Fogarty did go on to stress that Leinster want to see the talented playmaker remaining with the eastern province next season.

“I hope he stays, I think this is where he has developed so well,” said Fogarty. “He’s been excellent since he was 15 and all the way to here.

“He’s developed really, really well and I think he can continue to develop here at Leinster. That’s what we’re hoping for. We want him to stay.”

JJ Hanrahan kicks a penalty JJ Hanrahan was at out-half for Munster last weekend. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Carbery was at fullback for Leinster last weekend in the Pro14 semi-final win over Munster, his ninth start of the season in the province’s 15 shirt.

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There has been just a single start for Carbery at out-half during the current campaign, underlining why the IRFU have concerns so close to the World Cup.

While Leinster view Carbery as predominantly being a fullback, Joe Schmidt and Ireland are very keen for him to get games as a frontline out-half.

Munster have been without Bleyendaal for much of the season and the Kiwi’s injury issues since joining 2015 have been a frustration, although the province have supported him impressively.

Head coach Johann van Graan has insisted that Munster expect Bleyendaal to make a “full recovery” for next season, but it’s understood that there remains a degree of uncertainty.

Ian Keatley spent much of the season as Munster’s first-choice out-half, but JJ Hanrahan stepped into that role in recent times after Keatley had a tough day in the Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Racing 92.

The calls for Carbery to be given a chance to move south have increased and it appears that the youngster may now have an opportunity to join Munster, even if only on a one-season deal.

Ulster, of course, remain on the lookout for an out-half, with Carbery’s future still undecided.

The northern province have been looking abroad but it’s understood the IRFU have been reluctant to sign-off on any of the options they have explored so far.

Bordeaux’s Fijian out-half Ben Volavola is understood to have been on Ulster’s radar, but reports in the French media suggest that he could instead join Racing 92 this summer.

– Originally published 17.25, 21 May

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Murray Kinsella

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