Wednesday 24 January 2018

Leinster should build team around Carbery, says Clontarf boss

Leinster's Joey Carbery. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Leinster's Joey Carbery. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Prior to last season's Ulster Bank League final, in which Joey Carbery's stunning performance grabbed the headlines, Clontarf coach Andy Wood was already resigned to not having his out-half available to him for much of the upcoming campaign.

It wasn't just his performance for 'Tarf in the final victory over Cork Constitution, but Carbery had been lighting up the domestic league all season.

Carbery made his first start at out-half for Leinster in their opening-day win over Treviso last Friday and his two outstanding tries didn't come as a shock to Wood, who has watched the 20-year old flourish in the last year.

"The way he played was how he played for us last year," Wood said. "I'm really delighted that he's obviously been given a brief to go and play.

"Hopefully the team can be built around him or when he gets his opportunities that his talents are brought to the forefront which again you saw last week. It was a pretty outstanding debut.

"It's a different level to what he would have been used to. I know he's been with the Irish U-20s as well as Clontarf but if given the opportunities, I think his skills-set will be brought to the fore."


Carbery has seemingly jumped ahead of Cathal Marsh and Ross Byrne - both of whom have been in the Leinster system for longer - as the New Zealand-born youngster continues to impress at every given opportunity.

Johnny Sexton is still a couple of weeks away from a return to action and Leo Cullen faces a tough decision this weekend as to who to pick away to Glasgow, but Wood has backed Carbery to cope with the pressure.

"There's a huge amount of competition there," the Clontarf head coach said.

"I don't know how Leo is going to run it but I'm not at all surprised to see where Joey is at the moment.

"I'm sure, knowing him, he will take every opportunity that comes his way with both hands but he's a great team man as well. I know he understands the challenges ahead of him.

"He's a great open-field runner. He brings the support players into play really well and he's got a great step.

"I don't know whether that's because he's a Kiwi or just because he's a good player. He definitely has an eye for space and he knows how to bring other players into space.

"I guess a lot of that is instinctive. I know his dad was a good player and a good coach as well so I guess the environment he was brought up in would have encouraged him to play in that manner, plus very clearly, there's his athletic ability."

Irish Independent

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