Schmidt on Carbery: 'If he gets back for Wales we know he's good. If he doesn't, then we've got a decision to make'
Joe Schmidt remains hopeful that Joey Carbery will be available for selection for the World Cup opener against Scotland on September 22.
And he is not ruling out bringing the Munster star to Japan, even if he hasn't proved his fitness ahead of the tournament, because his versatility is too important to his squad.
Ross Byrne starts at out-half against England tomorrow, with Jack Carty on the bench, while Carbery was back on the pitch working with the medical staff at Ireland's Portuguese base yesterday as he stepped up his recovery from ankle surgery.
"I know Joey well and I've got a lot of time for Joey," Schmidt said. "One of the frustrations for us is that versatility Joey gives us. The other three No 10s tend to be locked-on No 10s. Joey can play 15 and nine, that's massive in a World Cup squad. Thirty-one is a very skinny squad when you've got five- and four-day turnarounds.
"It does force you to consider someone of Joey's talent and flexibility, even if you don't think he'll get that last Wales game as a lead-in, but you think he'll be fully fit for Scotland.
"Part of that equation is how the two lads go this weekend because it's a contest, everyone is in competition.
"Is Joey available or not? We're going to wait and see how he goes. He's progressed well this week, but we have to be patient. It's the next two weeks which will really determine whether he's up and running.
"If he gets back for Wales we know he's good. If he doesn't, because we have to name the squad before that, then we've got a decision to make."
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Aside from Byrne and Jean Kleyn, Schmidt has named an experienced side and England boss Eddie Jones has also gone with a strong team.