Wednesday 18 September 2019

'It's been a tough couple of weeks' - Joey Carbery confirms he will leave Leinster and join Munster

Joey Carbery is moving to Munster
Joey Carbery is moving to Munster
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Joey Carbery has confirmed he will leave Leinster for rivals Munster.

As reported earlier today on Independent.ie, Carbery confirmed to the media that he will leave Leinster to seek more game time.

He told RTE Sport: "It's been a tough couple of weeks. There's been a lot of things going, with the magnitude of the games and this decision in my head as well.

"I've come to the decision purely based on rugby. I want to go down there and get the opportunity to be playing at 10 a lot more. 

"I know that if I can get into the rhythm of games, I know how good I can be so I'm really excited for the opportunity. I'm going down to a great team with a great set of coaches.  

"It's been tough. Leaving my friends and family and the things I'm comfortable in. But I've made this decision purely based on rugby and I'm a professional rugby player. So I've got to do what's best for my rugby and I know things can be great down there. I'm really excited about the group I'm going into. 

"It's good to have people around me that I could talk to and give me help on things. Like you said, it's been tough with the games and there's been a few sleepless nights thinking about everything. But I'm glad it's come to an end and I'm really happy with my decision. It feels good."

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt needs his preferred back-up to Johnny Sexton to play more in his preferred position, but Leinster have largely used him as a full-back this year.

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The loss of such a talented home-grown player is a blow to the eastern province.

Carbery was named on the bench for both the Champions Cup and Guinness PRO14 finals ahead of Ross Byrne, but Byrne has started far more games in the pivotal position and has earned a spot on the June tour through his performances.

Initially, a move to Ulster was suggested to both Carbery and Byrne after Paddy Jackson's contract was revoked, but after further discussion the idea of transferring south appealed to Carbery who has endured sleepless nights weighing up his decision.

He met with Munster coach Johann van Graan last week to discuss the move and the prospect of playing alongside Conor Murray and working under the highly-rated Felix Jones.

Munster have four Irish qualified out-halves on their books already and it's unclear how the arrival of Carbery affects the futures of Ian Keatley, JJ Hanrahan, Tyler Bleyendaal and Bill Johnston.

Bleyendaal was signed as the No 1 choice and got a run of games under Rassie Erasmus, but has been plagued by neck injuries and has missed most of this season.

All four are in contract next season.

Ireland depart for Australia in the next 48 hours, with a group flying later today and another following tomorrow.

The full squad expected to travel. Robbie Henshaw, Rory Best, Iain Henderson and Bundee Aki are all recovered from their recent injuries and should be available for the first Test on Saturday week.

The squad assembled for a pre-departure training camp earlier this week, with Niall Scannell, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath and Sam Arnold all involved despite not being part of the initial squad.

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