Sunday 21 July 2019

Brian O'Driscoll on where Joey Carbery is ahead of Beauden Barrett and the advice he'd give Johnny Sexton to prolong his career

Brian O'Driscoll (inset) has been discussing Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery
Brian O'Driscoll (inset) has been discussing Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery Newsdesk Newsdesk

Brian O'Driscoll believes if Joey Carbery is going to challenge Johnny Sexton for a starting berth at the Rugby Wold Cup, this is his chance.

The 23-year-old impressed after replacing last year's World Rugby Player of the Year in the win over the Scots last weekend.

Carbery's instinctive style has drawn comparisons with All Blacks star Beauden Barrett.

BOD admired Carbery's resilience after a rocky start to his appearance in Murrayfield and thinks the Munster 10 has the edge on the Kiwi in one important aspect after chatting with England legend Jonny Wilkinson.

"His first pass was quite nervy, he's a very good passer of the ball. The first one he threw was a little bit low. It looked a little bit tentative. It's understandable, he's still a young man," he told Off The Ball.

"Also, you're replacing the World Player of the Year. There's added pressure that comes with that.

"Yes, he's been very good for Munster but now there are constant question marks, 'Is he the one to challenge Johnny ahead of the World Cup?'.

"This is his opportunity. Of course there is going to be excitement and nerves.

"The way he bounced back. It was a multitude of different parts to his game besides the line break and the pass to Earls was fantastic.

"He has this ability like no other 10 to get himself out of trouble or use his feet to create something down a dark alley and it's changing a miserable situation into an attacking opportunity. Very few 10s have the scope of doing that because of his acceleration and his footwork.

"I spoke to Jonny Wilkinson about this yesterday, I don't even think Beauden Barrett has that footwork, he's got that crazy acceleration but he doesn't have that back three footwork like Shane Williams who can find space in a phonebox

"He has a looseness to his game but that brings such excitement. He's quite a different player to Johnny. Johnny's more strategic and formulaic.

"Joey is almost the antithesis of that. He comes in with a spark and maybe doesn't run the patterns as well as Johnny but he brings something totally different.

"I think Johnny has lost a half-yard of space and I don't think he's as comfortable in open space as he once was.

"Joey is quick and agile and that is his game."

Sexton's disregard for his own body in executing Joe Schmidt's power plays leaves him open to hits, as was the case for Jacob Stockdale's try.

"It's a very unusual thing for a number 10 of his age to be playing as aggressively as he does, and it is a testament to his bravery to take those shots; to really to go to the last second to create the holes for his teammates," said O'Driscoll.

"He probably could have given that pass [earlier]. He had fixed [Alan Dell] pretty early, but he wanted to make sure he was 100% committed to him. I think he has got to throw that half a second earlier, and take the chance that Stockdale will have enough to get through, and brace himself for the collision.

"He threw the pass and left himself wide open. Scotland obviously had spoken beforehand every time he throws a pass, to smash him afterwards. You couldn't argue with any of them. They were 'committed' but they knew what they were doing - they could have pulled out of them, but why would you?"

O'Driscoll feels that Sexton might have to adjust his timing to protect himself from heavy collisions.

"From a self-preservation perspective, he doesn't have to get back into the pocket. That's what the older 10s do - get deeper and deeper, ship it on and the centres have to do the hard yards

"He just has to be a little bit selfish and look after himself by giving it a fraction earlier than he ordinarily would, because he is 33 and because we need him more than ever in the World Cup."

Online Editors

The Throw-In: Kerry back to their best, Connolly’s return and Cork’s baffling inconsistency

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport