Friday 28 October 2016

Cullen backs ‘confident’ Carbery to step up in Sexton’s absence

Published 14/10/2016 | 15:39

Joey Carbery of Leinster Picture: Sportsfile
Joey Carbery of Leinster Picture: Sportsfile

Leo Cullen has backed Joey Carbery to step up to the mark when he makes his European debut against Castres tomorrow.

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The 20-year old replaces Johnny Sexton who misses out with a “tight hamstring”.

Cullen confirmed that Sexton should be fit enough to return in Montpellier next weekend and that he was “airing on the side of caution” by leaving him out for the Champions Cup opener.

Carbery has impressed in Sexton’s absence in the early part of the season and the exciting New Zealand born youngster scored two tries on his first start in the PRO12.

Cullen is hoping for more of the same against Castres at the RDS and he believes that Carbery will handle the step up in quality.

“It’s just a bit of tightness in his hamstring during the week,” Cullen said of Sexton's injury at the RDS this afternoon.

“We’ll wait and see how he is over the weekend and the start of next week. We’ll assess him then but it didn’t seem too bad. It’s just airing not he side of caution.

“Joey has obviously played a few games at the start of the season so we feel pretty confident there.

“He’s been involved in all of the games this year. He’s gone well. He’s got a lot of confidence, he was involved with the Ireland camp a couple of weeks ago as well. He’s back in energised from that.

“He’s a young guy coming into the team but he’s dealt with all the pressure so far really, really well. Tomorrow is just another step in that progression.”

Jordi Murphy was a notable omission from the match day squad but Cullen confirmed that it was a section call.

Elsewhere, Sean O’Brien (hamstring) and Jack Conan (foot) will make their return from injury for Leinster A against Richmond in their British and Irish Cup opener.

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