Who will wear the number 10 shirt when Ireland face France?
Joey Carbery back in the frame after Leinster win, but Johnny Sexton not yet ruled out
Leinster’s Joey Carbery runs in a try against Treviso in their Pro12 match at the Stadio Monigo on Sunday. Photograph: Alfio Guarise/Inpho
Ireland’s enduring love affair with whoever plays in the number 10 shirt continued to add intrigue to Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations campaign.
From an outhalf crisis point that Paddy Jackson, to his credit, has successfully managed, to a healthy-again Joey Carbery coming on for Leinster at the weekend and Johnny Sexton not yet ruled out for the French visit to Dublin in less than two weeks, things are beginning to look old-school at outhalf again.
Leinster’s match in the RDS on Friday against Edinburgh could yet prove to be influential in Schmidt picking his squad for Ireland’s third game of the Six Nations campaign.
While Carbery came into the Pro12 match from the bench for Leinster’s 14-40 win over Treviso on Sunday, it was at fullback and not as pivot. Most crucially, he came out the other end intact. His ankle is fine, there are no issues, said Leinster on Monday.
Carbery’s input to the Leinster win was “good”, said assistant coach John Fogarty. “He scored a try, which is always good. He got through his minutes well, Mike Ross came back as well and Dave Kearney too. He scored two tries.
“It’s really good to get those lads back. It brings confidence to the group and it adds competition to the group that’s there. There was chopping and changing that had to be made, but he did well.
“He was his usual self, looking for opportunities to make line breaks. He made a few, kicked the ball well, and took his try well.”
Carbery came on after 53 minutes, enough time to stretch his legs and become involved. He will want even more time this week in the hope that he can impress Schmidt enough to take him into the Irish camp.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he [Carbery] went in [to Irish camp],” said Fogarty. “But at the same time I think Paddy’s gone really well. He’s taken his opportunity and played really well against Italy.”
“Obviously Johnny [Sexton] exists in all this, so we’ll see how he comes out the back of whatever he’s going through. He [Carbery] can certainly add to what Ireland has. He showed that in November, so there’s no reason why he couldn’t.”
“It’ll be interesting to see in the next week, we’ll get a good gauge of what’s happening, whether he goes into camp in the next week or two. In his time with Ireland, he went very, very well. He slotted into that team. He was an inexperienced international. Obviously, it was his first time in November, and he slotted in very well.”
Both Josh Van der Flier and James Tracy trained with Leinster on Monday, two more players who will see Edinburgh in much the same way as Carbery and Kearney.
Narrow focusMunsterKeith EarlsCraig Gilroy
“Joey and Dave will be focusing on playing for Leinster on Friday night,” said Fogarty. “I think Joey will want to get on the field, get through his minutes, be healthy and add to what we’re trying to do. It is a really important four weeks for us and Joey is a selfless kind of guy.
“I’ve no doubt, in his mind, he’s trying to get back into the international set-up because when you get in there, it is a great place to be. I’m sure he’s focusing on getting himself ready, getting healthy.
“If something comes of it beyond that, happy days. His focus now is Edinburgh on Friday and getting picked to play. That’s as much as I can say.”