English media get worked up about Joey Carbery ahead of Ireland clash
There is a real possibility that Joey Carbery may have to do most of his best work off the bench.
Despite tipping along extremely well in his eight Guinness PRO14 appearances, so far, this season, the Champions Cup form of Joey Carbery has seen him flash big and bright on the English rugby radar.
The former Leinster outhalf excelled in the home and away wins over Gloucester and the home victory over Castres, as well as standing up to the challenge of Exeter's big ball-carriers and kicking flawlessly off the tee. Ally that to Carbery and Munster getting one over Leinster, in a PRO14 game that caused enough ripples to cross the Irish Sea, and the 23-year-old is widely seen as being in good nick coming into the Six Nations.
With Johnny Sexton not playing since that December 29 game against Munster, there is a possibility that Carbery could wear 10 in the Guinness Six Nations opener against England on February 2.
That prospect has certainly got the English media talking. On BT's Rugby Tonight, Ugo Monye and England women's star Emily Scarratt discussed the Ireland outhalf situation.
MONYE: "Johnny Sexton has missed the last couple of games and, it feels weird saying this, they might not miss the world player of the year all that much because of Carbery's recent form."
SCARRATT: "Yes that's quite a statement, isn't it? Joey Carbery has been playing so well for Munster and, at one point, had 20 consecutive kicks for goal, which is so important for a 10 and a goal-kicker... You look forward to World Cups and you have to have that strength-in-depth... We all know Carbery has been playing well for Munster but it's about getting that international exposure.
Meanwhile, at the Six Nations launch in London, midweek, Rugby Media collected the opinions of several British rugby reporters and Carbery's name cropped up frequently.
Alex Spink of The Mirror remarked that Carbery 'looks to the manor born' and could prove a match-winner for Ireland in tight matches. Robert Kitson of The Guardian suspects we may see more of the New Zealand born player than just being a sub.
Italy are up, for Ireland, in round three of the fixtures but former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll has mentioned, earlier this month, that giving Carbery a start in the home game against France may be a good test of his character and game management in what could be a white-hot atmosphere.