Sunday 19 November 2017

Nacewa hails 'genuine threat' of Carbery

Joey Carbery remains fullback. Photo: Sportsfile
Joey Carbery remains fullback. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

With Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip both out of next week's European Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps, today's clash with Cardiff Blues just got a little bit more interesting.

Leo Cullen insists he's not looking too far ahead with his selection and he was unable to field Jack Conan in the No 8 shirt or Zane Kirchner at full-back, but the door has opened for others to catch his eye.

One of those is Joey Carbery, who remains at full-back despite the return to fitness of captain Isa Nacewa.

The former Fiji international would appear to be favourite to replace Kearney against the English Premiership leaders at the Aviva Stadium next week, but he is selected on the left wing as Leinster look to end this window of Guinness Pro12 games with 25 points out of 25.

Could Carbery retain the No 15 shirt next week? His skipper doesn't see why not.

"Joey's great, you can see how electric his footwork is, he has great kicking out of hand, he plays what's in front of him, he's a genuine threat every time he's got the ball in his hands," Nacewa said.

"He's had international experience for the last seven months, and a different environment too, so he's learning along the way. He's learned from Irish camp, he brings those eyes and ears back into Leinster, he's a threat, he's always fun to play with.

"He's class, he really is. He works really hard on his game, in the analysis room, he's learning as he goes and he takes it all in his stride.

"It's very hard to frazzle Joey, he just gets on with it, and that's probably why he's so exciting out on the rugby field, and so much fun to play with."

The other opening comes at the back of the scrum, where in the absence of the top three No 8s in the squad - Heaslip, Conan and Jordi Murphy - Rhys Ruddock steps into the breach.

In some ways the forgotten man of the Leinster back-row ranks, the Ireland international could do with a big display given the presence of Dan Leavy and Josh van der Flier on the flanks.

With Sean O'Brien and Conan (calf) expected back next week, the competition remains fierce.

Cardiff come to the RDS in eighth on the back of another under-whelming season and while they have a decent looking team-sheet, they rarely live up to it. A home win beckons.

Verdict: Leinster

LEINSTER - J Carbery; A Byrne, R O'Loughlin, N Reid, I Nacewa (capt); R Byrne, L McGrath; C Healy, R Strauss, M Bent; R Molony, H Triggs; D Leavy, J van der Flier, R Ruddock. Reps: J Tracy, P Dooley, M Ross, M Kearney, M Deegan, J Gibson-Park, T Daly, F McFadden.

CARDIFF BLUES - M Morgan; A Cuthbert, R Lee-lo, S Shingler, B Scully (capt); G Anscombe, T Williams; C Domachowski, K Dacey, A Peikrishvili; G Earle, J Hoeata; M Cook, J Navidi, N Williams. Reps: M Rees, G Jenkins, S Andrews, S Bennett, E Jenkins, L Williams, W Halaholo, T James.

Referee: G Clancy (IRFU)

Leinster v Cardiff Blues, 3.0; Sky Sports

Irish Independent

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