Sunday 22 July 2018

Carbery happy to continue to let his instinct guide him

Ireland's Joey Carbery. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ireland's Joey Carbery. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Everything was going so well for Joey Carbery that the first setback he suffered was always going to test his mental strength.

That moment arrived during Ireland's summer tour when Carbery struggled against the USA. Having had an off-day from the tee, the 21-year-old had two kicks blocked down that resulted in two tries, and to compound that misery, an ankle injury robbed him of the chance to make amends in Japan.

Carbery thrives on instinct and to coach that out of him would quell the one aspect of his game that makes him stand out from the rest. Thankfully Joe Schmidt viewed his errors in the same light.

"He fully backed everything I was doing," Carbery said at the launch of Ireland's new Canterbury jersey.

"It was just poor execution so I'll live and learn from it and just work on not doing it again. If it was a World Cup final I'd be a little bit more hanging on it.

"I was pretty gutted but I suppose you can't play well all the time. I had a bad day but if I can learn from it, I'm going to be a better player. It's good it happened because hopefully it means I'm not going to do it again."


With Paddy Jackson out of the picture for the next while, Carbery has a chance to stake his claim ahead of the November internationals.

But before that, his sole focus is on recovering fully from that ankle injury he picked up in June. Carbery is nearing a return to action, however, this begs the next question; what position will he play?

A lot was made of the former Blackrock College student shifting from full-back to out-half last season but as he rightly pointed out, if it works for one of the best players in the world, it can work for him.

"I'm only 21, Beauden Barrett played until he was 25, at 10 and 15, and now look at him so it didn't work out too bad," Carbery maintained.

"Obviously I'd prefer playing at 10. I'm more happy playing there but I'm not going to give out about playing so long as I'm on the pitch.

"In training you do enough prep that you can cover both and be comfortable in both so I never feel out of position. Obviously the more time you spend at something the better you get at it.

"The hardest thing to do defending at 15 is to read a 10's body language and if you can play at 10 and know what your body language is like when you're going to do something, then that benefits you as a full-back, and also helps you at 10 because you know what's difficult to defend.

"The two positions are very linked, and I think it's helping my whole rugby game development."

Irish Independent

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