Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Joey Carbery needs to be more than just okay against Fiji

Joey Carbery's leadership is critical for Ireland when he plays. He needs to set standards for the team around him the way Sexton does.

Gordon D'Arcy joined Monday Night Rugby to look back on Ireland's underwhelming victory over Fiji with Joey Carbery starting.

Ireland overcame Fiji in The Aviva Stadium early last Saturday.

But Andy Farrell wasn't happy after the game. Nobody leaving the stadium was particularly happy either. Ireland's second team floundered and looked disjointed throughout the game. Fiji scored some excellent tries and imposed their physicality.

If they were better set up to stop mauls and showed better discipline, Ireland likely would have lost the game.

Since they didn't, the scoreline fell in Ireland's favour. But Farrell looked past that and criticized his players for not seizing the opportunities afforded to them. Farrell is trying to build a bigger squad. He knows a lot of these players will play in the World Cup. Ireland need depth.

Depth has cost Ireland at tournaments in the past. It shouldn't happen this time since we have a larger pool, but performances at key positions is still vital.

Joey Carbery was concussed during the game. He played well up until that point, but he will miss the Australia game now. And while Carbery was fine, he didn't set the game alight or get Ireland executing at a high level. And ultimately, for Gordon D'Arcy (and Andy Farrell) that's a problem.

"Joey Carbery was fine. It's not okay for him to be fine in a test match like that," D'Arcy said.

"It's a fulcrum position. Everything runs through nine and 10. You don't get to be fine in matches like that when you start. And Gibson-Park was poor as well for large parts of it. There's a certain amount of responsibility and a certain amount of expectation that comes with those positions."

Ireland have historically looked to their halfbacks to set the tone for the team.

David Humphries, Ronan O'Gara and Jonathan Sexton were all leaders of that kind at the 10 position. Peter Stringer and Conor Murray leave a legacy for Gibson-Park et al to follow suit. While Gibson-Park had a poor game versus Fiji, he was very good just one week prior.

As such, Carbery faces more questions than he does.

"It is very harsh for me to say that, but you only get the credit when you take the responsibility. So for him all the games that go well, you have to step up and take the responsibility when it doesn't click.

"When Ireland were playing, at what point did they say we're going. backwards to go forwards and they're actually coming forward and knocking seven colours out of us. Maybe we need to shorten things up. We just need to get over the gain line two passes outside the ruck, but we need to get there quicker. And we need to beat them around the corner.

"Who is thinking like that and who is driving it. I know who does it. Sexton.

"Who was doing that at the weekend? That's probably the intangible piece we had missing."

The Joey Carbery plan.


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