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Why Joey Carbery would be mad to leave Leinster


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"I think Johnny [Sexton] is at the top of his game so it's not a bad chasing point, for Joey [Carbery] to go at is it?"

Those words were spoken by Stuart Lancaster yesterday afternoon at UCD before Eddie O'Sullivan made the suggestion that Joey Carbery should leave the province to get more game at outhalf.

But the Leinster senior coach's comment hits the nail on the head as one of the main reasons why Carbery should not even consider leaving the best team in the country.

"It'll be anarchy to say that now because he is so important to Leinster," admitted O'Sullivan on Off The Ball's MNR last night.

Eddie the anarchist won't get the water canon treatment from Leo Cullen but I would hazard a guess that the Blues head coach will laugh off the former Ireland boss' suggestion when it is inevitably put to him at the Dragons pre-match press conference this Thursday afternoon.

There's no doubt that Carbery has a lot to do before he reaches Sexton's level but surely learning from and training alongside Ireland's main man every week will only benefit the 22-year-old?

Not only that, but he also gets to test himself against one of the best number 10s in the world and having the ambitious young buck breathing down his neck won't do Sexton any harm in the same way he did with Felipe Contepomi all those years ago.

The point was also made on MNR that outhalf is a position in which a player must get regular games and Carbery won't get that if he is playing second fiddle to Sexton and being forced to wear 15 instead.

If you look at the Leinster's last two seasons following the return of the prodigal son from Racing; out of a total of 61 competive matches, Sexton started 24 and came off the bench twice while this season he's played 3 out of 10.

If that trend continued up to the 2019 World Cup, it would give Carbery plenty of opportunities to do his outhalf thing and make the necessary improvements, albeit he does miss a big window of opportunity this winter after that disappointing wrist fracture suffered in action against Fiji last weekend.

It would also leave Cullen with the issue of what to do with Ross Byrne and Cathal Marsh but maybe they are the men who should start looking elsewhere in an effort to get more time on the pitch.

Leinster would be mad to let, arguably Irish rugby's brightest talent, go to one of their arch-rivals in Munster, Ulster or Connacht and frankly, Carbery would be mad to leave the province where he is most likely to win silverware over the next few seasons.

Ask yourself this; do you think if Johnny Sexton was in Carbery's boots, he would walk away from Leinster?


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