Joey Carbery needs to focus only on ‘playing at 10’

Kicking and skills coach Richie Murphy says Carbery not considered at inside centre

Ireland's kicking and skills coach Richie Murphy has revealed that Joey Carbery, who is likely to make his first Test start at home against Fiji on Saturday, is now regarded as the de facto outhalf back-up to Johnny Sexton at the moment and was not considered as an option at inside centre, much less fullback.

“We don’t want Joey thinking too much about stuff other than playing 10. If something happens during a game we do know you could put him in there but at the moment we see him as a 10, we want to try and grow him as a 10 and that is where we see him at the moment.”

Carbery’s eye-catching cameo against South Africa was his first outing at outhalf this season, having played at fullback with Leinster thus far, but Murphy sees that as being more of a help than a hindrance.

“He actually gets to see things from a different perspective which helps him and he often drifts in and plays at first receiver anyway. It’s a situation where you are trying to get your best players on the pitch probably in Leinster and Joey is one of those. They feel that they need to play him there (15).”


Carbery also landed his first two goal-kicks of the season last Saturday, the second from the touchline and this, according to Murphy, was the product of work “on a couple of small things technically and since the start of the season he has been working a little bit on mental approach towards it.”

The crosskick for Darren Sweetnam was evidence of what Murphy described as Carbery's ability to "play what he sees", adding: "He is one of those guys who has an ability to beat people and those guys don't come around very often in Ireland, there's plenty of them in Fiji. That makes him a little bit special and a little bit different."

The presence of Kieran Marmion, Luke McGrath, Jack McGrath and Jack Conan, as well as CJ Stander, on media duties at the squad's base in the Carton House further points to a much-changed team against Fiji.

With Dave Kilcoyne and James Ryan both carrying 'bangs' they sat out training yesterday but should be fit later in the week, so Michael Bent has been called in as cover. John Ryan has returned to Munster for rehab but is expected to be available for the Argentina match, which suggests Andrew Porter will also be involved this week.

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times