Austin Healey jokes about wanting Joey Carbery to start against England 5 months ago

Austin Healey jokes about wanting Joey Carbery to start against England

The former Leicester and England star returned to this comedic well two more times during the match.

Austin Healey is clearly from the Mike Tindall school of winding up Irish rugby fans. He was not shy sharing his thoughts on Joey Carbery, at Kingsholm, on Friday.

The ex-England and Lions player is heavily involved in the media side of rugby since he retired and he knows how to stay in the conversation. Three years ago, he got it right by predicting England to beat Ireland in the 2016 Six Nations, although Eddie Jones side did not put Joe Schmidt's men 'to the sword'.

The following year, ahead of a Grand Slam decider at the Aviva Stadium, he was way off when he claimed England would beat the hosts by 23 points. Ireland were comfortable winners on the day.

Even when he pays a compliment to an Irish player - he wanted Peter O'Mahony to be midweek Lions captain - he cops it for suggesting he wouldn't make the first XV. O'Mahony ultimately captained the Lions in the First Test against New Zealand before dropping out for the Second and Third.

At Kingsholm, on punditry duty for BT Sport, he paid close attention to a player as versatile as he once was - Joey Carbery.

Ahead of Munster's 41-15 victory over Gloucester, Healey suggested that, from the games he had seen of him, Carbery may be better suited to fullback rather than outhalf. Looking ahead to Ireland vs. England on February 2, he then remarked:

"He's a very good rugby player and, I think, he's probably better than Johnny Sexton, and if he could start for Ireland against England in that first Six Nations game, that would be perfect."

Carbery ahead of 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year Johnny Sexton for the Six Nations opener? Host Craig Doyle asked Healey if he was ever planning on visiting Dublin again. "Yeah," he replied, "for that England versus Ireland game in a few weeks' time."

After Carbery's first try of the match, Healey declared, "I told you he was better than Sexton!"

Although Sexton is the clear favourite to wear the No.10 jersey against England, Carbery's excellent form for Munster and Ireland this season means the alarm bells may be spared if the Leinster outhalf should be forced to sit out any of the Six Nations games.

The fact that Joey Carbery then went out to stick 26 points on Gloucester and claim his second successive man-of-the-match award clearly shows that Carbery as outhalf is far from a joking matter.