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Young Player of the Year Contender: Joey Carbery

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

3 Apr 2017

Joey Carbery

After making his Ireland debut in the historic victory over the All Blacks in Chicago, as well as enjoying a stand out season for club side Leinster, Joey Carbery has certainly had a season to remember.

The young talent made his senior club debut at just 20 years old at the start of the domestic season and has impressed for both club and country after being called up to Joe Schmidt’s squad in the autumn.

And while Leinster sit atop the Guinness PRO12 and have battled through to the last four of the European Champions Cup after a thrilling victory over Wasps, Carbery continues to show his class from full.

The 21-year-old fly-half, who has also shone at full-back this season, made his Leinster debut in Round One of the Guinness PRO12 scoring two tries in Leinster’s 20-8 victory over Treviso.

And it was not long before Carbery earned international recognition as he featured among the replacements for Ireland’s thrilling 40-29 victory over New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Carbery entered the fray with a little over 20 minutes to play and looked every bit the international fly-half as he played his part as Ireland ended their 111-year wait for a victory over world champions New Zealand.

But it is in his club blue that Carbery has been most impressive. At times playing second fiddle to Johnny Sexton or Rob Kearney at fly-half and full-back respectively, Carbery has been patient with his opportunities and has become a key performer in Leo Cullen’s squad.

And with Kearney set to miss a further four weeks through a bicep injury, Carbery can expect to continue in the 15 jersey as Leinster maintain hopes of achieving both a domestic and European triumph.

Carbery ran for exactly 200 metres and created two tries a spectacular display against Aviva Premiership leaders Wasps in Leinster’s European Champions Cup quarter-final win.

And Leinster head coach Leo Cullen singled him out for praise after the game: “Joey is brave, very brave. We’ll go through the game with him, he is hungry to learn and eager to get better. It was a good performance, I’m delighted.

“He’s 21, it has all come very quickly for him. He stays grounded and hopefully he will have a big part to play.

“Having him as a second receiver certainly takes some of the pressure off Jonathan Sexton.”

Carbery’s emergence will certainly give Schmidt options ahead of Ireland’s summer tour which features a test against USA in New Jersey followed by two tests against Japan.

His versatility being able to play at 10 or 15 comfortably will give Schmidt food for thought as he may wish to include a secondary distributor to ease the pressure on his playmakers.

First though, his focus will be with Leinster and earning a first piece of silverware with the team, particularly with the Guinness PRO12 Final being played at the Aviva Stadium where he so impressed on Saturday.

The Guinness PRO12 Final takes place on May 27 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. 
Fans can guarantee their place by booking their tickets via www.ticketmaster.ie

Further information: www.pro12rugby.com/final