Carr insists Leinster switch is driving his game to whole new level
FIONN CARR'S decision to return to his native province from Connacht has provoked quite a bit of negative comment this season.
Much of it has been driven by Connacht no longer having access to their most potent attacking weapon of the previous three seasons, both in terms of try-scoring and creating opportunities for others, with his pace and ability to change direction at full tilt. This has been compounded by the fact that Carr was not there when Connacht needed him most for their debut in the Heineken Cup and by their run of defeats, which stands at 11 on the bounce ahead of Sunday's Pro12 clash with Leinster at the Sportsground.
The fact that he has not been able to gain a place in Leinster's Heineken Cup side and has played British and Irish Cup instead has added to the view that it was an ill-judged move.
However, the flip-side is that Carr has not been short of game time (he has started nine of Leinster's 11 Pro12 games), and both parties believe they have benefited from the decision -- Leinster have welcomed the extra depth in the back three, while Carr (left) says his game has developed under Joe Schmidt.
"I'm really happy with the way it's gone," said Carr, who picked up his third try of the season against Ulster last Monday. "I've played quite a few games, hopefully now I'll get a couple more opportunities and try to stake a claim for a place.
"I'm playing a similar game; obviously Joe has had a different input with me.
"He's been very influential on my game, he's been very positive with me, I've learned a lot from him. So I feel I've improved as a player, if anything, coming here."
While his attacking capabilities have never been in doubt, Carr's defensive attributes have come under greater scrutiny, such as his security under the high ball, and it is something he has been working on since making the switch.
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"I'm playing the exact same position so everything I've been doing is quite similar. I've just had to tweak little things in my game to keep me in the team," he added.
"I feel I'm fielding more than I did with Connacht -- the way we play in the back three at Leinster is a different kind of system.
"I've probably done more with Leinster and I'm definitely improving at it, it's a big aspect of my game I'm trying work on with Joe and the coaches."
Carr picked up an ankle injury which required a protective foot cast but he is hopeful of being cleared to play before Leinster name their side today.