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‘I’m Excited About The Opportunity’ – Carbery On His Munster Move

‘I’m Excited About The Opportunity’ – Carbery On His Munster Move

Joey Carbery will be playing in the red of Munster next season after his move from Leinster to Johann van Graan’s side was confirmed today. The 22-year-old out-half is currently preparing for Ireland’s summer tour to Australia.

The announcement of Joey Carbery’s transfer to Munster ends recent speculation surrounding the Ireland international’s immediate future, and the player himself is now keen to ‘move on’ and let his rugby do the talking for both province and country.

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“It’s been within my gut for the last few days but I wanted to be with my family when I made the decision and I wanted them to be the first ones to know, so I did that just before coming into camp,” said Carbery, speaking at an Ireland press conference in advance of the squad’s departure for Australia.

“It’s still pretty new to me, this whole thing has come up pretty quickly. I do feel comfortable that I’ve made this decision and I can get on with it now, and it will get easier with time. It’s still quite raw at the moment but I’m happy that I made the right decision.”

Giving his immediate reaction this afternoon at Carton House, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said: “It’s very new news to me, I haven’t had time to digest it. The initial conversation with Leo (Cullen), myself and (IRFU Performance Director) David Nucifora was not the best timing for any of us (in the midst of the Champions Cup knockout stages).

“I had a job to do. All we asked was if there was any interest for Ross (Byrne) or Joey to go to Ulster. We had to see if there was any chance at all. If there was no interest then it was a different story. (Joey) mulled that over, got an approach from Munster in the mean time.

“He has been superbly-coached at Leinster and has had really great role models. I think in anyone’s pathway in development I think if you are not playing the position it is very hard to develop in that position. I’ve no doubt that with that base he can spring board into a more senior position.

“I think as a number 10, if you are not running the team during the week it’s hard to just jump in the saddle and take the reins. I think you’ve got to be leading. You have got to get a rhythm through the week and players have to be responding to you during the week so that at the weekend you can run the game.

“The proof is in the pudding. He’s going to get an opportunity (to play 10 in Munster), there is going to be competition. It may turn out to be a good move if he can make the most of it.”

Carbery, who moved with his family to Athy, Co. Kildare when he was 11, won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup with Blackrock College in 2014 and joined the Leinster Academy the following year, having impressed in his nine appearances for the Ireland Under-20s.

The talented youngster, who can also play at full-back and centre, helped Clontarf win the Ulster Bank League title with a man-of-the-match performance in the 2016 final, and just six months later made his Ireland debut in the historic victory over New Zealand in Chicago.

Injuries have curtailed Carbery’s match minutes, including a fractured wrist against Fiji last November, but he returned to play his part in Ireland’s Grand Slam success earlier this year, as well as taking his Leinster caps haul to 37 during the province’s famous Champions Cup and GUINNESS PRO14 double.

Getting more game-time at number 10 is at the heart of Carbery’s decision to swap provinces, ‘a self-based decision’ with advice from his dad and ‘closest advisor’ Joey senior and Schmidt, along with a very positive first meeting with Munster head coach Johann van Graan.

“?I met up with Johann and he’s a really good guy,” admitted the Munster-bound player. “I felt like I connected with him and he seemed like a really honest guy, which I like. Someone I can go to, especially if I’m living away. I’m going to need someone who’s a good advisor, who I can trust and just have chats to even not regarding rugby. I felt like he could definitely be that person I could talk to, so I really liked him.

“I wanted to get this decision made and out there before leaving (for the tour), for my own mental state. I can just get it out there and move on with things. (The contract details) are being ironed out. All I’ve told them is my decision, that’s what they’re waiting for.

“I just wanted to get my decision out before getting on the plane, so I could have a clearer head. The game-time, getting more of an influence at 10 maybe, that’s the big one. I know people down there (at Munster) too, they’ll make things easier.

“Just getting to play more regularly is the main one. It’s purely a rugby-based decision, I’m excited about the opportunity. I know myself to develop, Leinster have got me to a stage now where I feel like I’m just about ready. Now I need to go out and develop even more now. I’ll always have a huge part of Leinster in me for that.

“It’s purely based on the opportunity of playing 10. That’s what it came down to, and going out of my comfort zone I suppose is going to be pretty tricky. It’s going to be tough but I’m a rugby player and I’ve got to concentrate on my rugby.”

With the Rugby World Cup in Japan now only 15 months away, Carbery acknowledged: “I suppose by the time the World Cup comes around I want to be at my peak. I know I’ll get there with regular game-time and get into the rhythm of playing 10, which I’m really excited for because I know with the right opportunities where I can get to.

“My friends live in Leinster, all my friends and my girlfriend are all living in Leinster. That’s the tough part, but this decision was purely based on rugby. I have to say thanks to the Leinster fans for all their support over the last few years. I chatted to Leo and Stu (Lancaster), both were understanding that game-time was very key and with the likes of Johnny (Sexton) there, it’s tough to get a proper run at it in the big games with him there.

“I think that’s just the game that I’m in – there’s going to be people in front of you, there’s going to be people behind you – so I just wanted to make this decision purely on me and they understood that. They were supportive about it and I was chatting to them a good bit over this whole time as well.”