Thursday 24 May 2018

'He's caught between two stools' - Brian O'Driscoll on why Joey Carbery is in a 'tough spot' ahead of Wales clash

10 February 2018; Joey Carbery of Ireland during the Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 February 2018; Joey Carbery of Ireland during the Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Brian O'Driscoll says that Joey Carbery's lack of game time in recent months puts the young out-half in a 'tough spot' ahead of the visit of Wales next weekend.

Ireland will look for their third straight Six Nations victory against Warren Gatland's men, with Carbery likely to feature on the bench after being named among the replacements to face France and Italy.

However, Carbery has been restricted to two cameos off the bench - once for Leinster and once for Ireland - since breaking his wrist against Fiji last November, and there are questions over whether he is battle-tested enough to play against Wales.

Speaking on Off The Ball tonight, Ireland legend O'Driscoll said that a number of circumstances have gone against Carbery this season, limiting his opportunities.

"He's in a really tough spot," O'Driscoll said.

"Because of Ross Byrne as well, because Ross Byrne has gone well for Leinster this year.

"Because Joey's been injured at times he doesn't get any of the game time, because of Jonathan Sexton in the big European games, so he's really caught between two stools at the moment.

"Ultimately, I don't know what his minutes are like for the year but they're very, very low comparatively to everyone else."

There have been some calls for Carbery to possibly come into the side as a second receiver alongside Johnny Sexton, and O'Driscoll is open to the 22-year-old possibly playing at inside centre at some stage during the Six Nations.

"I'm starting to grow to the idea of seeing him potentially in a 12 role because again, when you talk to the coaches, they all speak very highly of Joey," O'Driscoll said.

"He obviously trains very well and he has the ability to make people look silly on the training park. His feet are wicked. It's back-three feet and winger footwork in close proximity and that's why he never gets absolutely annihilated."

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