Thursday 23 May 2019

'It's new news to me' - Joe Schmidt says he played no part in Joey Carbery's move to Munster

Joey Carbery
Joey Carbery
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has claimed he had no role in Joey Carbery's decision to leave Leinster for Munster.

As reported earlier today on Independent.ie, the Athy flyhalf confirmed today that he would be joining Johann van Graan's side on a two-year deal.

Carbery's future has been up in the air since Schmidt asked the 22-year-old whether he would consider a move to another Irish province to get more game time at number 10 ahead of next year's World Cup.

The 21-year-old has featured more often at fullback for the European champions with fellow Leinster youngster Ross Byrne, in line for an international debut against the Wallabies, favoured at flyhalf whenever Sexton was missing.

“It’s new news to me,” said Schmidt, reacting to the Carbery's announcement at Carton House today

“I haven’t had time to digest it personally. It’s a decision Joey has taken a bit of time over. It doesn’t seem to have affected his performances any. I think he’s played very well.

“I understand why Leinster would be desperately keen to hang on to him and why Munster feel that it’s a huge bonus for them.

“That’s a decision he’s made. Apart from him catching up with me, which was nicely photographed, I’ve left him to it.

He later said: “I honestly wasn’t sure what he was going to do.

“I thought quite possibly he was going to stay put. I haven’t had that much time to think about it. I’ve had a quite a few other things on my plate.

"Believe it or not I haven't really had that many conversations with Joey. I haven't spoken to him since he phoned me and wanted to meet."

There had been reports that Schmidt and IRFU performance director David Nucifora held a meeting with Leinster boss Leo Cullen to discuss Carbery's feature in the same week the province were preparing for their Champions Cup semi-final meeting with Scarlets.

“The initial conversation with Leo [Cullen] and myself and David Nucifora was not the best timing for any of us,” Schmidt added.

“It certainly wasn’t where I wanted to be at the time but I had a job to do.

"All we asked was if there was any interest for Ross (Byrne) or Joey to go up to Ulster. Ulster at the time were looking for a foreign option. They needed to know before midday the following day and so we had to see if there was any chance at  all if any of our local number 10s were interested.

"If there was no interest then it was probably a different story. There was a bit of interest from Joey at the time. He mulled that over and I think he got an approach from Munster in the interim and it digressed then into a different conversation."

Asked if he felt it would be a good move for Carbery, he added: "To be honest the proof is in the pudding. A good opportunity? I think it is a good opportunity for him to get in at 10 but he is going to get competition from Tyler (Belyendaal), Ian (Keatley), JJ (Hanrahan). Bill Johnson is a good young player so there is going to be competition for him.

"That's not necessarily a bad thing either. But it may turn out to be  a good move if he can make the most of it."

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