Friday 23 March 2018

Kearney hails Carbery's impact as Nacewa nears return

Leinster's Rob Kearney. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Rob Kearney. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

If Joey Carbery was looking for some validation for his excellent full debut display on Friday, the public utterances of his head coach won't have been his best port of call.

Whatever about behind the scenes, Leo Cullen was determined not to bestow too much praise on the youngster who had crossed for two of his team's three tries against Treviso.

Every time Carbery's name came up, it was accompanied by that of Ross Byrne and Cathal Marsh who are battling with the Clontarf out-half for the right to back Johnny Sexton up this season.

It would appear that the 21-year-old has stolen a march, but it will be interesting to see if he retains the No 10 shirt for the daunting trip to face Glasgow Warriors away this weekend.

Certainly, Rob Kearney has been impressed by his impact. "It was brilliant, he's a superb player and I suppose we've seen that in training over the past couple of months and he has starred in the AIL final last year," the Lions full-back said.

"It's really important that you reward guys who are doing that; it's a great vindication to the club game as well, that if you progress and perform really well then you will get your opportunities.

"I know our scouts work really hard behind the scenes to make sure that we're picking out these guys who display great talent at such a young age.

"He came in on Friday night and did superbly, showing that he was right at home at this level."

Sexton remains a few weeks away from full fitness and Cullen is not expecting to have too many of his international contingent back for the trip to Scotstoun on Saturday.

However, news that Dave Kearney and captain Isa Nacewa have returned to contact training is a boost and they could feature against the 2015 champions.

No 8 Jack Conan is eight weeks away after undergoing ankle surgery, but the prognosis on former Munster lock Ian Nagle is positive and he is due to make his Leinster debut in the coming weeks.

With Glasgow coming off the back of a huge win over Connacht and playing on their new 4G pitch for the first time, Kearney and Co will need a major step up after failing to secure the bonus point against Treviso.

Irish Independent

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