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Cullen happy to keep Carbery at full-back


Leinster's Joey Carbery. Photo by Craig Hanbury/Sportsfile

Leinster's Joey Carbery. Photo by Craig Hanbury/Sportsfile


Leinster's Joey Carbery. Photo by Craig Hanbury/Sportsfile

For the second game running, Joey Carbery finds himself starting at full-back and while it is not a position that is alien to him, it isn't one that is likely to enhance his chances of forcing his way back into Joe Schmidt's plans.

Carbery was added to Ireland's Six Nations this week after he recovered from an ankle injury picked up in December and although for the moment at least, his chances of usurping Johnny Sexton and Paddy Jackson are slim, one wonders if the 21-year-old has more concerns closer to home.

Ross Byrne has been excellent in the No 10 shirt this season and after a cruel run of injuries is beginning to show the kind of potential that had him marked out as a certain future international from a young age.

Byrne, who is a much more assured goal kicker, is the same age as Carbery and the amount of time he is getting in his favoured position will only benefit him as his rival shifts to full-back.

Leo Cullen however doesn't see it that way as an in-form Scarlets side arrive in Dublin this evening (7.35).

"I've talked to Joe about this, even earlier in the season when Joey was playing 10 and Isa (Nacewa) was kicking. Joe had no problem with that at all," Cullen said with regard to Carbery not place-kicking.

"It depends on what way you look at it. Having him, in the backfield, gives him such a different awareness. If he's fielding balls in the backfield, then the next time he's playing 10, he has a much greater awareness of how to expose a 15.

"So in terms of his own development in awareness of where the space is and where he kicks the ball, etc, I think it gives him a greater appreciation of the game.

"And he is so young still. He is streets ahead of other, more experienced players in those positions from what he has actually done to date."

Scarlets will be buoyed by their stunning win in Thomond Park last weekend and they include former Leinster lock Tadhg Beirne in their side.

"He's gone really well in the last 10 or 12 weeks, and we're delighted to see him do well," Cullen added.

Verdict: Leinster

Leinster - J Carbery; A Byrne, Z Kirchner, N Reid, F McFadden; R Byrne, L McGrath; P Dooley, R Strauss (capt), M Bent; R Molony, H Triggs; R Ruddock, D Leavy, J Conan. Reps: B Byrne, E Byrne, M Ross, M McCarthy, M Deegan, J Gibson-Park, T Daly, B Daly.

Scarlets - J McNicholl; T Williams, S Hughes, H Parkes (capt), DTH van der Merwe; D Jones, J Evans; W Jones, R Elias, W Kruger; T Price, T Beirne; A Shingler, J Davies, W Boyde. Reps: D Hughes, L Garrett, N Thomas, R Bernardo, M Allen, D Smith, A Thomas, I Nicholas.

REF - N Owens (WRU)

  • Leinster v Scarlets, Live, TG4, 7.35

Irish Independent